Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suit to open police records moves forward

A judge has allowed an usual lawsuit accusing several police departments in Santa Clara County of withholding public information to go forward. But the plaintiffs, a wealthy and politically active couple from Saratoga, never asked for any documents themselves. Instead, Janice and Ronald Naymark are suing because they don't want their tax dollars used by agenices that do not obey the law.

As reported by the Press Club on Feb. 22, the Naymarks sued after reading a story in the Mercury News about an audit of public record act compliance by CalAware, a nonprofit that fights for open records and public access to government meetings.

The judge on Friday allowed the case to move forward, but raised questions about whether the couple can sue the cities if they don't pay taxes in those cities. Defendants include police departments in San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno, Palo Alto and Santa Clara, as well as the CHP and Santa Clara County Sheriff.

The couple's attorney, James McManis, told the Mercury News he may file a statement outlining the ways in the couple's taxes paid to the counties are distributed to the other cities. The problem could also be remedied by finding people in those cities willing to join the suit. "We have lots of people who would love to be plaintiffs in this case," McManis was quoted by the Merc's Leslie Griffy as saying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Advice to attorney James McManis and the plaintiffs -- this is a solid case. Police routinely deny important information from journalists every day of the week. It's ridiculous, especially in Mountain View and Palo Alto. But when the judge says he needs to determine of the plaintiffs paid taxes to an agency that is denying information to the public, you know he or she is reaching. The judge is searching very hard to find a way to dismiss this suit. I hope other journalists in the area jump in and help the plaintiff's here. If you have ever been blown off by a cop in one of these towns, call James McManis immediately.