A-14: POLICY FOR RELEASE OF PUBLIC RECORDS

All documents which are not exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records act shall be made available to the media upon request in a reasonable period of time. Generally, the business records of the department shall be made available. In this department, the records which are exempt from disclosure are the following:

  • Case Files
  • Investigation reports
  • Letters, memoranda and other communications privileged pursuant to the California Evidence Code
  • Preliminary drafts, notes and memoranda which are not ordinarily retained in the course of business.

Procedure:
Requests for documents by the media should be fulfilled by providing copies of the requested documents. Any questions should be referred to the Assistant Public Defender for Administration. If the Assistant Public Defender is unavailable, the Administrative Deputy should be consulted.

In the case of request for review of public officials' financial Conflict of Interest statements filed under the Political Reform Act of 1974, the requestor should be referred to the Personnel Officer who is the Filing Officer for this department. There are set fees by law for photocopying of Conflict of Interest statements as well as special prohibitions on asking the requestor for additional information.

In the event of a request by the media for other public records, it is perfectly permissible to ask the reporter the thrust of his story in order to insure that we provide the appropriate information.

Costs:
Short documents should be provided to the media free of charge. Other requestors of public documents shuld be charged a fee at the current photocopying rate as established by the Auditor-Controller. If a media request involves a lengthy document, the current fee should be charged.

Reporting:
A brief memorandum summarizing the request, what was provided, and any other information given by the reporter should be prepared to the Assistant Public Defender for Administration for follow up purposes, and notification to the Board offices if necessary.

Appeal Process:
Representatives of the media who feel they have been denied access to a public document may appeal to the Public Defender. The Board adopted policy designates the CAO Public Affairs Office as the Board's representative in resolving disputes between the media and departments.

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