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Attorney General's Opinions

Attorney General Matt Denn


  Archived Posts From: 2011

11-IB16 12/05/11 FOIA Opinion Letter to the Honorable McMahon re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Department of Labor

Written on: December 5th, 2011 in 10001 Declaration of Policy10002(g) Meeting10005(b) Statute of Limitations for Denial of Access to Records

Inmate of Department of Corrections sought records from the Department of Corrections. Held that public records do not include records of the Department of Corrections when sought by an inmate in the Department’s custody, so the records sought are not public records subject to disclosure.

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11-IB15 11/16/11 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Parisi re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Department of Corrections

Written on: November 16th, 2011 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Requester sought records of Department of Labor, Office of Labor Law Enforcement (DOL), relating to inspections concerning the prevailing wage laws or contractor fraud laws. DOL alleged that all responsive information was excluded from disclosure because such information constituted part of investigative files compiled for civil or criminal law-enforcement purposes. Held that DOL’s interpretation of the exemption was overly broad, and should instead be limited to those records of investigation where disclosure would impede or inhibit the enforcement of law.

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11-IB14 RE: Freedom of Information Act Appeal Concerning Department of Correction

Written on: August 30th, 2011 in 10002(l) (2) Exemptions - Trade Secrets10002(l) (6) Exemptions - Records Exempted Per Statute or Common Law10002(l) (9) Exemptions - Pending or Potential Litigation

Requester sought all records of the Department of Corrections (DOC) relating to its purchases of certain chemicals for lethal injection. DOC refused, citing an exemption (1) for pending or potential litigation, (2) in the lethal injection law, (3) for a commercial need for confidentiality of the company that sold the chemicals to DOC, and (4) pursuant to a court order. Held that none of the alleged exemptions applied because (1) death penalty cases were nearly always in some form of pending litigation; (2) the lethal injection law didn’t include an express exemption; (3) DOC failed to overcome the burden favoring disclosure as to the alleged confidentiality needed by the vendor; and (4) the court order did not extend to the identity of the vendor of the drugs. As a result, the DOC was ordered to provide the requested documents.

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11-IB13 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against City of Dover

Written on: August 29th, 2011 in 10002(l) (2) Exemptions - Trade Secrets

Requester complained that City of Dover violated FOIA by redacting pricing information from the City’s contract for production of solar energy. The contractor alleged that the pricing information was protected confidential commercial or financial information. Held that because the pricing information sought was the bottom line contract price, it was not protected from disclosure. The City of Dover had five business days to provide an unredacted copy of the contract to the requester.

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Polluters Face Tougher Penalties Under New Law

Written on: August 22nd, 2011 in News

Chronic environmental violators targeted Wilmington – Legislation enhancing financial penalties for polluters who repeatedly break Delaware’s environmental protection statutes has become law, Attorney General Beau Biden announced today. The new law, drafted by the Department of Justice, ensures that those who repeatedly violate Delaware’s environmental protection laws and show no willingness to reduce the pollution […]

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Georgetown Man Charged with Dealing Child Pornography

Written on: August 19th, 2011 in News

Child Predator Task Force investigation leads to multiple counts Georgetown – An investigation by the Delaware Child Predator Task Force along with the Delaware State Police has resulted in the arrest of a member of the Delaware Army National Guard on 25 counts of dealing in child pornography, Attorney General Beau Biden announced today. Jeffrey […]

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Attorney General’s Office Helps Landlords Combat Neighborhood Crime

Written on: August 18th, 2011 in News

Second training for property owners to be held Saturday, August 20th Wilmington – For the second time this year, the Department of Justice will hold a day-long training course for property owners to give them the information they need to combat criminal activity on their properties and avoid legal sanctions under the state’s Drug Nuisance […]

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DSP Trooper Pleads Guilty to Harassment

Written on: August 18th, 2011 in News

DSP Trooper Pleads Guilty to Harassment Georgetown – Ryan J. Mitchell, age 36 of Frankford, pled guilty yesterday to one count each of Harassment and Misuse of a Computer in connection with unwanted and unsolicited contact with a Sussex County woman. He was sentenced immediately by Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes to two years […]

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11-IB12:RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Woodbridge School Board

Written on: August 18th, 2011 in 10002(a) Agenda10002(g) Meeting

Petitioner alleged that members of the Woodbridge School Board violated FOIA when three Board members attended a “Meet the Candidates” night and later when three Board members attended a Bond Committee hearing in Dover. Petitioner further alleged a FOIA violation when the Board voted on hiring a new superintendant on June 14, when the agenda did not include this action on the posted agenda. Held that the Board did not violate FOIA when three members attended other events because they did not discuss public business and did not meet “for the purpose” of discussing public business of the Board. The June 14 vote was a technical violation, but took place simply because the May meeting, for which the vote was on the agenda, ran late and all members of the public left before the vote occurred. Because the June vote was intended to ratify a prior, properly-noticed vote, no remediation was required.

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11-IB11: RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Town of Dewey Beach

Written on: August 17th, 2011 in 10002(a) Agenda10002(g) Meeting

Requester alleged that the Town of Dewey Beach had committed approximately 35 violations of FOIA. As to the allegations, held that the Town did not violate FOIA because (a) FOIA requires only that agenda include a general statement of major issues expected to be discussed, so agenda items were sufficient; (b) Town may remove an agenda item without any stated reason; (c) minutes are complete if they include the names of those present and a record of votes taken and action agreed upon, and the Town’s minutes met these requirements; (d) a meeting of a sub-quorum with townspeople was not subject to FOIA; and (e) a special meeting was properly noticed because no explanation was required. The Town committed a technical violation of FOIA because its minutes were not all timely prepared by the next meeting. However, there was no intentional failure to prepare the minutes, and the minutes had been provided, so no remediation was necessary.

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