State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2019-25
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
GORDON THOMAS, Petitioner, v.
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 19-25
By this appeal, Petitioner, Gordon Thomas, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, the Utah Department of Corrections (“Corrections”).
On or about May 28, 2019, Mr. Thomas made a records request to Corrections for mental health records relating to himself pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). His request was initially denied in a letter dated June 5, 2019. Mr. Thomas filed an appeal with Corrections’ Chief Administrative Officer and after no response was given, Mr. Thomas filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”) on July 11, 2019. On August 8, 2019, the parties appeared in person and by telephone at hearing held by the Committee. At the hearing, Mr. Thomas stated that he had not yet received a copy of the “Response to GRAMA Appeal” filed by legal counsel for Corrections, and therefore, he was not adequately prepared to argue against issues raised in Corrections’ response at the hearing. Accordingly, the parties jointly requested a continuance of the appeal hearing in order to allow Mr. Thomas adequate time to review Corrections’ response filed with the Committee.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Gordon Thomas, is CONTINUED until the next available Committee hearing.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect a parties’ rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record 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. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i)(B). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 19th day of August 2019.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
TOM HARALDSEN, Chair
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated August 20, 2019 .