Friday, September 21, 2012

State FOI Law: Should it be for citizens only?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Ken Swindle, the attorney who's waging a Freedom of Information Act fight against West Memphis police so that parents of children killed in the West Memphis Three case can see evidence in the case, now officially closed.

The latest obstacle to the effort is West Memphis' contention that plaintiff Mark Byers has no standing to sue because he's not an Arkansas citizen, as the law requires. I've long hated this provision of the law and have frequently volunteered to stand in the place of others seeking public documents from out-of-state.

Swindle has now filed an answer arguing that the Arkansas provision limiting application of the FOI to citizens of the state is unconstitutional. He cites federal case law that the Arkansas attorney general has also cited in supporting openness even for non-citizens.

If a record is open to anyone, it should be open to all. West Memphis should acknowledge that simple truth, whether required or not. The legislature should fix this problem.

UPDATE: Lawyer John Burnett reminds that, because of a settlement of a lawsuit in which he sued state agencies, the auditor and Highway and Transportation Department are OBLIGATED to honor FOI requests from citizens and non-citizens alike. West Memphis is going to lose this fight and have to pay attorney fees in the process, sounds like to me. Why not just open the damn files?

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Mailer highlights Jason Rapert's record; Acxiom founder joins in

    A women's voter education group is dropping a mailer today that highlights Sen. Jason Rapert's legislative record. It happens to appear at the same time as a tough letter to the editor about Rapert by Acxiom co-founder Jerry Adams. Can Faulkner County voters be moved?
    • Oct 24, 2014
  • A bicoastal plea for equality — North Little Rock, too, in other words

    A petition drive urges North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith to move quickly to enact a non-discrimination policy in North Little Rock, particularly aimed at sending a welcoming signal to people of different sexual orientation.
    • Feb 15, 2015
  • Pat Hays' NRA membership riles Republicans

    Democratic 2nd District Congress candidate Pat Hays is causing conniption fits among Republicans because a new TV ad shows him with his guns and mentions his long-time membership in the National Rifle Association.
    • Oct 27, 2014

Most Shared

  • Trump show

    The first thing to understand is that before it's a presidential election, it's a TV program. To the suits at CNN, NBC and Fox News, that means it's about ratings and money. So of course they're going to play it as a cliffhanger.
  • Brantley: Free lunch Asa

    Gov. Hutchinson has just proved there is a free lunch. Thanks to the recent special legislative session, he can have his money, dodge accountability and claim it's good government.
  • Planned Parenthood: more than abortion

    IUDs, LGBT care, STI treatment — there's a whole alphabet of services at clinics.
  • The Mansion takeover: Of course it was Hutchinson's idea

    Of course the take over of the Governor's Mansion by Asa Hutchinson was his idea, not that of legislators who claimed credit. And the reason portends changes in historic appearance and use of what was once the people's mansion.
  • Truth, not Trump

    The rationalists in both parties and the nonpartisan public have little time left to sort out Donald Trump and his magic with the lusty crowds that show up for his rallies, hang on his tweets, follow his Fox News gabfests and give him outsized votes in the primaries.

Most Viewed

  • Governor's Mansion rolls on: Takeover was all about control

    Still more evidence mounts that control was the reason for legislation by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to strip the Governor's Mansion Commission of its power. Read more about the Hutchinson families artistic disagreements and also their desire to reduce public access to the building, including the Grand Hall built for that purpose.
  • An open line: Plus what's wrong with Kansas and Ole Miss?

    The open line includes news elsewhere — the failure of trickle-down economics in Kansas and football fraud with Arkansas angles at Ole Miss.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation