Supreme Court OKs first open-records policy for judicial branch

08/12/2017 12:54 PM

The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously approved the first open-records policy for the Administrative Office of the Courts’ administrative records effective Tuesday, the AOC announced in a news release Friday.

The policy requires the AOC to respond to information requests within three days and exempts a number of records, such as legal research, communications that do not constitute final actions or formal policies, records that would reveal security details or vulnerabilities, and examination materials. Requestors denied access to records can appeal to the chief justice.

“Transparency and accountability are bedrock principles in maintaining trust in state government,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said in a statement. “While the Judicial Branch has long complied with the spirit of the Open Records Act, it was time to formalize our commitment into written policy.”

First Amendment attorney Jon Fleischaker called the Supreme Court’s decision “an important step.”

“By establishing its own policy, the Judicial Branch demonstrates its commitment to transparency while preserving the separation of powers in state government,” Fleischaker said in a statement. “I’ve been looking forward to the day the public has definitive guidance on how to access the court system’s administrative records.”

The AOC will also sell subscriptions to its CourtNet 2.0 system to news outlets beginning Sept. 1, giving media organizations access to criminal and civil court files electronically.

1 Comments

Comments

  • Cumberland Gap wrote on August 14, 2017 09:02 AM :

    The judicial branch certainly needs better management and openness. Did you know kentucky judges have no one to measure their work ethic or case load activity and let the public know about it? They can take off any time, work part days, and let other judges pick up the slack until those other judges pick up the load, if willing. Their productivity is not out for all to see but they are elected to get through the cases. Without cases being measured and counted for all to see, many fail, and the slow back up is not swift justice.

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