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Guest Commentary: CA's judiciary toothless watchdog

Watchdog for errant CA judges has no bite, no bark

  BY JOE SWEENEY AND TAMIR SUKKARY — The Commission on Judicial Performance is a little-known agency that has one of the most important jobs in California — to protect the public by investigating complaints against judges and disciplining misconduct. The commission is effectively responsible for maintaining the integrity of California’s courts. Such an important watchdog should […]

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A&A: How long are routine County surveillance records archived?

Q: I have been fighting a speeding ticket for over the past year. After an initial failed CPRA request, I was able to retrieve dash-cam footage of the incident. However, upon review the County sent me footage from the wrong incident. The data that indicates the date and time of the footage was left out, […]

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A&A: Parent’s email complaint entered as a public comment by school site council

Q: I am a member of our School Site Council. During a recent public comment period, our chairperson read aloud an email that contained a detailed complaint (disclosing the names of a staff member and the emailer’s child – neither of whom were present). Is it the case that we are obligated under the Brown […]

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A&A: School district denying access to public records

Q: I have requested documents from a school district. The initial request was denied because the documents contain information concerning “pupil education records.” I responded that the information should be redacted but they still need to provide the redacted documents. The district Public Information Officer (PIO) replied with the same exact response, claiming the document […]

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A&A: Coastal Permit access under PRA

Q: I am looking to acquire a copy of Coastal Permit (4-90-9 A-1). Please advise. A: Coastal permits held by a state or local agency would presumptively be subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, so obtaining a copy of the permit that you seek probably requires making a simple request for it from the agency.  You […]

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A&A: Request for public information not honored

Q: I made a request for public information four months ago from my local school district and I have not received the requested information. Please advise. A: The Public Records Act contains various provisions related to the time an agency has to respond to a request for public records, as well as the disclosure of those […]

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A&A: Facebook blocked my account

Q: My Facebook account has been involuntarily blocked from posting – is this a violation of my First Amendment rights? A: The text of the First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . .”  The First Amendment thus generally applies only to government […]

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A&A: Are police informant contracts subject to the PRA?

Q: I am a journalist investigating the local County Narcotics task force and their use of confidential informants. I know the task force has their informants sign contracts – I want to file a public records request for full disclosure of said contracts. I know they will likely deny this, but is there any way to […]

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A&A: Records retention and PRA

Q: Suppose I make a request for records from a public agency, but their records retention policy allows the records to be destroyed before the agency produces them. Does the Public Records Act require a suspension of the destruction of records if a request has been made? A: Unfortunately, the Public Records Act is not […]

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A&A: Does an email search qualify as “data compilation” under CPRA?

Q: A local agency claims that collecting emails via a search term falls under the “data compilation” clause of CPRA 6253.9(b)(2) and therefore they can charge me to inspect them. Is the agency correct? A: The agency’s contention that the data compilation provision allowing fees for these tasks applies to its search for emails is, […]

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