State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2020-30
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
DANIAL MOVAHHED, Petitioner, v.
SALT LAKE COUNTY, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 20-30
By this appeal, Petitioner, Daniel Movahhed, seeks access to records held by Respondent, Salt Lake County.
On February 25, 2020, Mr. Movahhed made a request for records pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. Movahhed requested documentation regarding the justification to continue his housing assignment in administrative segregation and the associated reviews. The Information Services Specialist for Respondent denied the request stating that the records were classified as protected records pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-305(13).
Mr. Movahhed filed an appeal with Respondent’s chief administrative officer. In a letter dated March 12, 2020, Chief Deputy Matt Dumont denied Mr. Movahhed’s appeal request affirming the determination that the records were properly classified as protected pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-305(13).
Mr. Movahhed filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”). The case was initially heard by the Committee on June 12, 2020, but was continued because Mr. Movahhed was unable to attend the hearing. See, Movahhed v. Salt Lake Cty. Sheriff’s Office, State Records Committee Order No. 20-26 (June 19, 2020). On July 9, 2020, the Committee held a second hearing during which the parties were allowed to participate electronically and present their arguments. After carefully considering the arguments 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 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, are protected records if properly classified by a governmental entity. Utah Code § 63G-2-305(13).
3. Lieutenant Kathy Berrett with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, stated that Protected Classification Records contain staff recommendations, observations, security threat activities/associations and other information used to determine appropriate classification status. Lt. Berrett also stated that basic information regarding classification assignments were made available to Mr. Movahhed. However, disclosure of their full content would jeopardize the safety and security of the facility by exposing to the prisoner population the classification review process notes and identification of the board’s participants.
4. After having considered the arguments of the parties, the Committee finds that Respondent properly classified the records as protected records pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-305(13). The Committee agrees with Respondent’s argument that release of the records would jeopardize the security or safety of a correctional facility, and/or interfere with the control and supervision of an offender’s incarceration, treatment, probation, or parole.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Danial Movahhed 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 21st day of July 2020
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
Chair, State Records Committee
Page Last Updated July 22, 2020 .