State Records Committee Appeal 2013-11
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
COREY VONBERG, Petitioner, vs.
IRON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 13-11
By this appeal, Petitioner, Corey Vonberg, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office (“Sheriff’s Office”).
In a letter dated March 14, 2013, Mr. Vonberg made a request with the Sheriff’s Office for the “Policy and Procedure your office is required to follow in investigating an alleged child sex offense requiring a Children’s Justice Center interview, pertaining to November 2003.” In response, the Sheriff’s Office stated that it did not possess records responsive to his request. In a letter dated June 9, 2013, Mr. Vonberg filed an appeal with the Iron County Commission arguing that he should receive the requested records.
In a letter dated August 15, 2013, the Sheriff’s Office stated that in regards to the policy and procedures for Children’s Justice Center interviews, “these interviews are not Iron County Sheriff’s Office interviews. Therefore, we do not release any information we receive from other agencies.” The letter further stated that if Mr. Vonberg wanted any information on any interview conducted by the Children’s Justice Center, he should contract them directly.
Mr. Vonberg now appeals the Department’s denial of his records request to the State Records Committee (“Committee”). The Committee having reviewed the arguments submitted by the parties and having heard oral argument and testimony on October 10, 2013, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. The Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”) specifies that “all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute.” Utah Code § 63G-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either “private,” “protected,” or “controlled.” See, Utah Code §§ 63G-2-302, -303, -304 and -305.
2. In response to a records request, a governmental entity is not required to create a record. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(8)(a)(i).
3. During the hearing, counsel for the Sheriff’s Office stated that a procedure exists regarding Children’s Justice Center interviews. However, counsel also stated that the office does not have a record responsive to Mr. Vonberg’s request.
4. After reviewing the arguments submitted by the parties, hearing oral arguments and testimony, the Committee finds that the Iron County Sheriff’s Office does not possess a record responsive to Mr. Vonberg’s records request.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Corey Vonberg is DENIED.
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 § 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 § 63G-2-403(14)(d), the government 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 records committee upon production of the records; or (2) a notice of intent to appeal. If the government 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.
Entered this 22nd day of October 2013,
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
LEX HEMPHILL, Chairperson
State Records Committee