October 15, 2009
Judicial Records Exempt From Disclosure
The Supreme Court of Washington has held that prior precedent compels the conclusion that the judiciary is not an "agency" and thus is exempt from the disclosure requirements of the state's public records act. The disclosures sought related to the resignation of a municipal court judge. The person who had sought the disclosure received some documents in response, but had been denied access to certain correspondence. The court majority declined the invitation to overrule its earlier decision. A concurring opinion suggests that any remedy must come from the legislature.
There is a dissent, which would hold that the prior case is not controlling. The dissent favors a broad construction of the term "agency" to encompass the judiciary. (Mike Frisch)
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