The Charleston Gazette v. Col. Timothy S. Pack, Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police

The Charleston Gazette's Memorandum in Support of It's Motion for Summary Judgment

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In November of 2010, the Charleston Gazette newspaper filed suit in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia against Col. Timothy Pack, the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police. The lawsuit followed the denial of repeated requests by Gazette reporter Gary Harki to the State Police for public records concerning complaints of misconduct against State Police Troopers. The requests included all records concerning closed investigations - the West Virginia State Police conducts investigations of its own officers in secret and refuses to disclose any records of the investigation even after the investigation is closed. Reporter Harki sought the records under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which generally grants access to all citizens to all public records. The State Police asserted that they do not have to comply with FOIA. The Gazette filed the Motion for Summary Judgment, challenging each of the purported reasons the State Police put forth in refusing to disclose the requested public records. The Motion for Summary Judgment addresses the public policy reasons for disclosing public records, including records of secret internal investigations of police misconduct. The Motion addresses the fact that most other states that have addressed this same issue have concluded that similar records must be disclosed to the public. Among other issues, the Motion addresses the fact that, in West Virginia, complaints against other professions, such as doctors and lawyers, must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, and the very same reasons records of those complaints may not be kept secret apply to complaints and investigations of State Police officers.

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Reference Info:Legal Memoranda: Motions for Summary Judgment/Adjudication | State, 4th Circuit, West Virginia | United States


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