State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2020-18
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
CODY YOUNG, Petitioner, v.
JUAB COUNTY, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 20-18
By this appeal, Petitioner, Cody Young, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, Juab County.
On or about August 26, 2019, Mr. Young submitted several requests for records pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”) to Respondent. Petitioner requested a number of records relating to his arrest and/or incarceration. On September 11, 2019, Respondent notified Mr. Young that his request had been denied and included very specific citations and reasoning concerning each request. Mr. Young appealed the denial and on October 4, 2019, the denial was upheld.
Thereafter, Mr. Young filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”). After hearing oral argument and testimony on April 9, 2020 and carefully considering the requested relief of the parties, the Committee 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 § 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. Records containing data on individuals, the disclosure of which constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy are private records if properly classified by a governmental entity. Utah Code § 63G-2-302(2)(d).
3. Records created or maintained for civil, criminal, or administrative enforcement purposes or audit purposes, or for discipline, licensing, certification, or registration purposes, are considered protected records if properly classified if release of the records: (1) Reasonably could be expected to interfere with investigations undertaken for enforcement, discipline, licensing, certification, or registration purposes; or (2) Reasonably could be expected to disclose the identity of a source who is not generally known outside of government and, in the case of a record compiled in the course of an investigation, disclose information furnished by a source not generally known outside of government if disclosure would compromise the source. Utah Code § 63G-2-305(10)(a) and (d).
4. After considering the arguments of the parties, the Committee finds that the records that are in the possession of Respondent that have not been released to Mr. Young, were properly classified as non-public records pursuant to Utah Code §§ 63G-2-302(2)(d) & -305(10)(a) & (d), and therefore, not subject to disclosure.
5. Additionally, in response to a request, a governmental entity is not required to create a record. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(8)(a). A governmental entity is not required to fill a person’s record request if the record requested is publicly accessible online or included in a public publication or product produced by the governmental entity receiving the request. Utah Code § 63G-2-201(8)(e). If a record is not maintained by a governmental entity but it is known which governmental entity maintains the record, the name and address of that governmental entity should be provided. Utah Code § 63G-2-204(4)(b)(iii).
6. After considering the evidence presented by Respondent, the Committee is convinced that Respondent does not possess any public records responsive to Mr. Young’s records request. The Committee finds that Respondent’s search for responsive records was thorough and commended the Respondent for answering each request individually and very specifically.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Cody Young is hereby DENIED.
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 20th day of April 2020
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
KENNETH WILLIAMS, Chair Pro Tem
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated June 30, 2020 .