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Attorney General's Opinions


Attorney General Matt Denn


          

  Archived Posts From: 2005

05-IB16 Re: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against City of Rehoboth Beach

Written on: June 22nd, 2005 in 10002(l) (3) Exemptions - Investigatory Files

Complainant alleged the City violated the FOIA public records requirements by denying access to copies of post-mortem records that were provided to the City’s police department by the Department of Health and Social Services and/or state medical examiner’s office. Held: the City did not violate FOIA because the Lawson post-mortem reports (with the exception of the death certificate, which may be exempt from disclosure by separate statute) were exempt from disclosure under FOIA as part of an investigative file compiled for law enforcement purposes. Further, FOIA requests should be made to the public body who originated the documents; thus, the City should immediately refer the FOIA request to the originating agency—the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.


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05-IB15: RE: F.O.I.A. Complaint Against City of New Castle

Written on: June 20th, 2005 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Complainant alleged the City violated FOIA open meeting requirements by: (1) holding a meeting of the Planning Commission 1hour earlier than the time noticed to the public to discuss a proposed subdivision; and (2) amending a meeting agenda the day before the meeting to include the same subdivision for final action by the Council. Held: Council violated FOIA, because the clerical error in the time announcement deprived the public of their right to monitor and observe the discussion of a matter of public business. Council further violated FOI by amending the meeting agenda without given sufficient reason why seven days’ notice could not be given. (Despite the intervening change in Council members, the subdivision matter did not “come up suddenly” after the original posting of the agenda, nor was there any evidence in the record that consideration of the proposed subdivision by the Council was such a pressing matter that it could not be deferred until a later date.)


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05-IB14: RE: F.O.I.A. Complaint Against City of Newark

Written on: June 8th, 2005 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Complainant alleges the City Council violated FOIA open meeting requirements by twice meeting in executive session on the same day to discuss “hiring contract personnel.” Held: Council violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements when it met in executive session to discuss which of two outside firms to retain to provide professional lobbying services since a vendor or independent contractor does not share the same privacy concerns as an individual public employee or prospective employee.


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