Court: Private email exempt from open records law

Media Center Posted on


A California appeals court has ruled that private text messages, emails and other electronic communications sent and received by public officials on their own devices are not public records regardless of the topic.

The 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose ruled last week that the state's Public Records Act doesn't extend to officials' private devices.

The California Supreme Court is expected to be asked to step in and settle this long-simmering debate.

State laws do require the communications of elected officials and other officials involving public issues to be retained and turned over upon request.

Since the coming of email, activists and others in the state have been battling at all levels of government over whether public issues discussed on private devices with personal accounts are covered by the Public Records Act. Similar legal battles and political debates have sprung up across the country as well.

The March 27 ruling reverses a lower court decision in favor of environmental activist Ted Smith, who sought access to messages sent on private devices through private accounts of the San Jose mayor and City Council members

Smith's attorney James McManis said he will ask the state Supreme Court to review the case. If the high court refuses to take it, the appeals court ruling will stand.

Legal News Media

Legal News Organization press is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. The content contained on the web site has been prepared by Legal News Media as a service to the internet
community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

 

www.legal-news.org

 

American Bar Association – Start and Run a Law Firm

NewYorkStateBar.com – Starting a Law Firm

Lawyer Web Direct

CPA Website Designs