Court: VT Attorney General Not Excused from Public Records Law
A Vermont judge has declined the argument that the Vermont Attorney General’s Office is exempt from state public records law and purchased the workplace to launch some files.
The Attorney General’s Office had argued in a March court hearing that because it is a law workplace, all its work is governed by expert principles guidelines such as attorney-client benefit and for that reason exempt from necessary public disclosure.
Washington Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout ruled Thursday that “the Attorney General’s workplace is not entirely exempt from the Public Records Act.”.
The case developed from public records demand from Energy & Environment Legal Institute, a free-market group based in Washington, D.C. The group asked for e-mails and other correspondence demonstrating how Vermont and other states in an environment change union reacted to public records demands.
The Attorney General’s Office rejected the demand, and EELI took legal action against.
Judge Teachout ruled that the Attorney General’s Office had no right to declare a blanket exemption from the law.
” While numerous records in the Attorney General’s workplace no doubt gets approved for exemptions due to nature of the legal work,” Teachout composed, “the general public has a genuine interest in openness regarding a few of its endeavors, especially those of an administrative or functional nature.”.
Teachout composed, the law “cannot be checked out to show legal intent that all records in the Attorney General’s Office would be entirely exempt.”.
Matthew Hardin, a lawyer for EELI, stated the group looked for comparable records from numerous state chief law officer’s workplaces, and Vermont had been the only state to declare a blanket exemption.
Chief Assistant Attorney General Bill Griffin stated he was shocked by the judgment.
” We think that law workplace files are personal,” Griffin stated.
The workplace is thinking about all options, Griffin stated, consisting of an appeal.
” We’ll do the ideal thing,” Griffin stated. “Not sure today exactly what that will be, but we’ll be figuring that out.”.
In a different case brought by EELI, the judge likewise ruled that previous Attorney General William Sorrell might be included as an offender in a public-records case looking for correspondence from his personal e-mail account.