The decision by the Vermont Supreme Court reverses a lower court ruling, and sides with the Human Rights Defense Center in a bid it has waged since 2015 to obtain records related to legal claims against a medical care provider for the state Department of Corrections.
The decision requires that many redactions in documents provided to VTDigger be removed, and also shoots down an often-used claim by the state of an exemption to the Vermont Public Records Act.
In an unusual tack, the Burlington School District sued the newspaper as well as the subject of the record request, rather than granting or denying the request.
Under pressure from press organizations, TJ Donovan takes “small step” to improve transparency.
In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled against the Vermont Attorney General’s office.
A judge in Washington Superior Court’s Civil Division ordered the Vermont Information Technology Leaders to produce a uncensored contract under the Vermont Public Records Act.
One would hope it is inexperience combined with a lapse of common sense that led to recent actions by three Vermont officeholders, and not arrogance or entitlement.
The attorney general’s office is fighting a request to search employees’ private email accounts for public records.
Attorney General TJ Donovan, while endorsing transparency, said the request at issue here would have violated officials’ privacy. The secretary of state called the ruling “alarming.”
Meanwhile, the Vermont Attorney General’s office has said it will charge VTDigger more than $200,000 for a request for records not already provided to the news organization.
If it’s any consolation, though Vermonters may not always be able to find out what police officers have been looking at porno, at least everything I’ve written to commissioners and legislators over the years has been or still is available for their scrutiny and entertainment.