Magdaleno, Johnny. 2021. Judge: Ex-AG Hill broke Indiana public records law. Indianapolis Star, Apr 02, 2021. (accessed June 20, 2021).
A Marion County judge has ruled that the personal email addresses of public officials count as public records, bringing an end to a lawsuit by IndyStar that successfully argued Indiana’s former attorney general Curtis Hill broke the state’s public records law.
IndyStar investigative journalist Ryan Martin requested records on employee turnover from the attorney general’s office in July 2018. One of the records that fit the request was a PowerPoint presentation on the office’s budget that was sent to the personal email addresses of Hill and then-Chief Deputy Aaron Negangard.
Before sending the record to Martin, Hill’s office redacted the personal email addresses it contained. His office acknowledged to Martin that the addresses weren’t exempt from public records law, saying that “we would provide the information to you if you request it.”
So Martin requested the addresses. When the office still didn’t provide them, he filed a complaint with the state’s Public Access Counselor, a custodian of public records disputes.
You can read the full opinion (19-FC-2) from the Public Access Counselor here: https://www.in.gov/pac/files/advisory/19-FC-2.pdf
You can read the full article here: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2021/04/01/lawsuit-indystar-public-records-indiana-indianapolis-star-ex-attorney-general/4809323001/