Idaho Press Club sues Ada County over public record access

Posted at 5:57 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-03 20:01:57-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — *Editor's note: 6 On Your Side is a dues paying member of the Idaho Press Club, the plaintiff in the lawsuit mentioned in the story below.

The Idaho Press Club has filed a lawsuit against Ada County, saying officials repeatedly violated Idaho’s Public Record Act in response to four separate public records requests from journalists.

In the lawsuit, filed in Ada County’s 4th District Court on Tuesday, attorney Deborah Ferguson asks a judge to order Ada County to release the public records, contending county officials over-redacted some documents and wrongly denied access to others.

Ada County spokeswoman Elizabeth Duncan said that people who request public records have a right to appeal, and that the county looks forward to the judge weighing in on the substance of the matter.

The Idaho Press Club is also asking that the judge order the county to comply with the state’s rules for waiving fees associated with access to public records, and to require the county to keep a special log showing why any documents should be kept from release in the future.

In the lawsuit, Idaho Statesman reporters Cynthia Sewell and Katy Moeller, Idaho Public Television reporter Melissa Davlin and Idaho Education News editor Jennifer Swindell all contend they had public records requests wrongly denied, overly redacted or otherwise mishandled by county officials in recent months.

This article was written by Associated Press reporter, Rebecca Boone. Boone is a member of the Idaho Press Club board. She was not involved in the planning or filing of the lawsuit.