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

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation