WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

WV Supreme Court Issues Opinion Regarding Police Internal Investigation Files

On November 26, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued a decision in a suit  filed by the Charleston Gazette (which I posted about back in November of 2010), to enforce a FOIA request initially sent by former Gazette police misconduct reporter Gary Harki.  After the circuit court refused to allow the internal files to be produced, the Gazette appealed and ended up winning at the Supreme Court.

The opinion is available in .pdf format on the Court’s website here.

Essentially the Court ruled that state police internal investigation documents are subject to production through FOIA requests, so long as the investigation has been concluded, and the allegations involve official misconduct about which the public has a right to know.  I’m summarizing.

This holding did not specifically address political subdivisions, i.e., counties and municipalities.  However, I don’t see any legitimate reason for treating them differently under this case law.

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December 10, 2013 - Posted by | FOIA, Media Coverage, Police, Police Misconduct, State Agencies

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