State Records Committee Appeal 06-02
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
REGINALD WILLIAMS, Petitioner, vs.UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 06-02
By this appeal, Reginald Williams seeks access to certain pages of a Board of Pardons document entitled "Hearing Worksheet" which contains various details about his personal history and sentence being served at the Utah State Prison. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the materials submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony on June 8, 2006, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. The Government Records Access and Management Act ("GRAMA") specifies that a "record is public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(2) (West Supp. 2005). Records that are not public are designated as either "private," "protected," or "controlled." Utah Code Ann. 63-2-302, -303 and -304.
2. The Board advances several theories as to why Mr. Williams is not entitled to the information he seeks. First, state law provides that "a note or internal memorandum prepared as part of the deliberative process by:
. . . (C) a member of the Board of Pardons and Parole . . . ." is not a "record" within the meaning of the Act. Utah Code 63-2-103(22)(b)(xi). Second, the Board maintains that all the information contained within the Hearing Worksheet that is a record is protected under Utah Code 63-2-304(10), (12) and (13). These provisions state in relevant part:
The following records are protected if properly classified by a governmental entity:
. . . .
(10) records the disclosure of which would jeopardize the life or safety of an individual;
. . . .
(12) records that, if disclosed, would jeopardize the security or safety of a correctional facility, or records relating to incarceration, treatment, probation, or parole, that would interfere with the control and supervision of an offender's incarceration, treatment, probation, or parole;
(13) records that, if disclosed, would reveal recommendations made to the Board of Pardons and Parole by an employee of or contractor for the Department of Corrections, the Board of Pardons and Parole, or the Department of Human Services that are based on the employee's or contractor's supervision, diagnosis, or treatment of any person within the board's jurisdiction; . . . .
Utah Code 63-2-304.
3. After considering the evidence, the Committee concludes that pages 1 and 7 of the Worksheet in question are notes within the meaning of Utah Code 63-2-103(22)(b) and therefore not "records" under the Act. The Board conceded during the hearing that pages 2 and 3, which contain the inmates personal information, family background, commitment offenses and a summary of prior Board action, have already been or may be disclosed to Mr. Williams, as the subject of the record. The Committee believes it is in the public interest to ensure that information on these pages is accurate. Therefore, we agree this information should be disclosed to the subject of the record upon request.
4. Pages 4 through 6 present more difficult issues. Included on these pages are details concerning prison work assignment history, education, disciplinary convictions (including a brief summary of the incident that gave rise to disciplinary action), offender legal status history and substance test results. The Committee agrees that disclosure of an inmate's prison work assignment history could jeopardize the safety or security of a correctional facility. Therefore, that information is appropriately classified as protected under Utah Code 63-2-304(12).
5. Regarding the substance test results, that information was provided to Mr. Williams by the Board during the hearing. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to address that issue. As to the remaining information, the Committee believes this information must be disclosed to Mr. Williams, as the subject of the record, so he can correct any inaccuracies.
WHEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT, Mr. Williams' appeal is granted in part and denied in part as set forth above.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to the District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404. The court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 15th day of June, 2006.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Acting Chair, State Records Committee