01 May 2008

AP Sues W.Va. Supreme Court Over FOIA

The Associated Press reports that it has filed its previously announced legal challenge over the state Supreme Court's denial of Freedom of Information Act requests.

"The AP alleges the court erred when it concluded earlier this year that records maintained by Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard were not subject to FOIA," the article said. "The AP filed FOIA requests in January seeking any communication between Maynard and Massey Energy chief Don Blankenship."

The Supreme Court administrator, named in the Kanawha Circuit Court action, responded with a press release.

Among other grounds, the AP's challenge focuses on language in FOIA that says that "'Public body' means every state officer, agency, department, including the executive, legislative and judicial departments, division, bureau, board and commission."

Update: The Bluefield Daily-Telegraph quizzed Maynard and the other Supreme Court hopefuls on the topic. "The overall consensus by the candidates: Yes, the e-mails do fall under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, except for those that would fall within the realm of normal statutory exceptions," the newspaper reported.

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