State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2010-20
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
LINDA HOUSKEEPER, Petitioner, vs.
UTAH COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 10-20
On June 21, 2010, Petitioner, Linda Houskeeper, made a request pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”) for "[a]ll records, documents, physical evidence, video recordings, notes, legal brief, etc. on the case of #991405159, State of Utah vs. [redacted] – both juvenile and adult." Respondent, the Utah County Attorney’s Office, denied Ms. Houskeeper’s request and on August 24, 2010, the Utah County Commission affirmed the denial.
Ms. Houskeeper now appeals to the Utah State Records Committee (“Committee”). The Committee having reviewed the evidence and arguments submitted by the parties, and having heard oral argument and testimony on November 18, 2010, now issues the following Decision and Order:
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. GRAMA specifies that “all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute.” Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either “private,” “protected,” or “controlled.” See Utah Code Ann. §§ 63G-2-302, -303, -304 and –305.
2. A governmental entity is required to conduct a “conscientious and neutral evaluation” of a record’s status without regard to existing designations or classifications at the time of a GRAMA request. Deseret News Publ’n Co. v. Salt Lake County, 2008 UT 26, ¶24, 182 P.3d 372. This obligation continues throughout the appeal process. Id. See, also Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-307.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT: Petitioner, the Utah County Attorney’s Office: (1) Determine what records within its possession are related to Linda Houskeeper’s records request; (2) Classify the records pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-307; and (3) Allow Linda Houskeeper to inspect those records classified as “public” records.
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 Utah Code Ann. § 63G-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.
Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-403(14)(d), the governmental entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and, if records are ordered to be produced, file: (1) a notice of compliance with the Committee upon production of the records; or (2) a notice of intent to appeal. If the governmental entity fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor for executive branch entities, to the Legislative Management Committee for legislative branch entities, and to the Judicial Council for judicial branch agencies’ entities.
Dated this 29th day of November 2010.
SCOTT WHITTAKER, Chairman
State Records Committee