Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Courts and Public Records Act

Latte Republic received an explanation from Judge Snyder regarding our question about Whatcom County's Email/Internet Policy and public disclosure requests.

I am happy to respond, Elizabeth. In the case of Spokane and Eastern Lawyer v. Tompkins, 136 Washington Appellate Reports, page 616, decided in 2007, the Washington State Court of Appeals determined that the Public Disclosure Act does not include the courts. The reason for this is the wording of the act, which uses the term "agency". The court concluded that this doesn't include the courts as they are not an agency of state government, but a separate branch of government. This recognizes long-established Constitutional principles that the courts must be independent in order to be able to protect individuals' rights from unconstitutional legislation. Therefore, the provisions of the Public Disclosure Act do not apply to the courts under Washington law.

Judge Chuck Snyder
August 12, 2008 9:10 PM

Thank you - Judge Snyder, for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Original post can be found here:

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