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Inmate’s public records request denied

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An inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility was unable to identify with reasonable particularity the records he sought from the Fort Wayne Police Department, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday. The case also allowed the judges for the first time to address “reasonable particularity” under the Access to Public Records Act.

Michael Jent, a convicted child molester, sought in 2009 daily incident report logs of crimes committed from Jan. 1, 2001, through Dec. 8, 2005, dealing with specific crimes and specific descriptions of a perpetrator. Sgt. Andrew Bubb with the Internal Affairs Unit of the city of Fort Wayne wrote Jent and said that the police department’s software “won’t facilitate the production of any kind of list with the parameters you specified.”

Jent then filed a complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor. The PAC issued an advisory opinion saying the department must make available for inspection and copying the information required to be maintained in the daily log, except for any information that falls under the investigatory records exception.

Jent sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and the trial court granted summary judgment for the FWPD.

The appellate judges noted they have never interpreted the “reasonable particularity” requirement under the APRA, but in the context of discovery rules, a requested item fits the designation if the request enables the subpoenaed party to identify what is sought and enables the trial court to determine whether there has been sufficient compliance with the request.

Jent’s request describes the records he wants in some detail, but that detail doesn’t satisfy the “reasonable particularity” requirement, the COA concluded. The FWPD was unable to fulfill his request using the search parameters Jent provided due to the software used to maintain the logs. The judges also found Jent’s reliance on the PAC advisory opinion to be misplaced because the opinion misconstrued the letter from Bubb.

“Jent did not designate any evidence showing a question of material fact on whether the FWPD had the capacity to locate the records using the search parameters set out in his request. Accordingly, it is undisputed that the FWPD was entitled to summary judgment on the basis that Jent’s request did not conform with Indiana Code Section 5-14-3-3(a)(1),” the appellate opinion states.  
 

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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