Even though it's early in the season,
is clearly a top contender for the aforementioned awards
Cool Justice observations:
Judges have their own Protection Association,
the Judicial Review Council,
therefore, it follows that
even those lower
on the food chain
would like another cushion ...
Maybe this travesty was drafted by a judge wannabe waiting to get his/ her ticket punched ... In any case, it reflects poorly on the hard-working and competent public defenders who demonstrate awareness of their mission ...
BOSS PUBLIC DEFENDERS
DON'T WANT TO BE ACCOUNTABLE
TO INDIGENT CLIENTS
FOR SHODDY REPRESENTATION
Thought For The Day:
A major reason for government secrecy
is to protect the government from its own population
HERE IS THE STATUS REPORT for Proposed S.B. No. 38
AN ACT CONCERNING
THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
AND DIVISION OF PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICES.
To exempt certain documents retained or concerning public defenders from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and to exempt public defenders from paying a fee for copies obtained under said act.
Introduced by: Sen. Martin M. Looney, 11th Dist.
Senator Looney’s press aide is Derek Slap. He can be reached at (860) 240-8641.
Referred to Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections
STATEMENT FROM SPOKESMAN
FOR SEN. LOONEY, Derek Slap:
Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, 12:10 p.m.
"[Sen. Looney] is not in favor of curbing transparency for the sake of curbing transparency ... The Bill originated from the Public Defender's office ... "
Slap said he would confer with Looney and give a more detailed response regarding the purpose of the Bill.
Requests for more feedback on the Bill made around 12:20 and 2:40 p.m.
Late Friday Slap said he would continue to track down the origin and details of the proposal. He referred additional questions to Deborah DelPrete Sullivan, executive assistant public defender. Messages were left for Sullivan, who was not available.
Slap characterized the proposal as “not sinister,” adding that “things are often more complicated than they appear.” He also cited documents related to attorney-client privilege. However, such documents already are exempt from FOI, as noted in the decision below.
From The Cool Justice Report's
Why is this even proposed? What is it supposed to do? It seems like a waste of time. How bout they have the FOI ENHANCED, not diminished, as it is becoming a more “closed” and secret government every fucking day! That’s right I said FUCKING, so there. --
Genesis of Whining Public Defenders
Getting To Sen. Looney?
FOIC decision (Docket # FIC 2009-394;
May v. Division of Public Defender Services)
The FOI Commission ordered the disclosure
of any and all complaints filed against
a special public defender.
The case is on appeal in Superior Court.
12. It is found that the respondent maintains an undisclosed number of complaints against Attorney McDonough, including one made by the complainant. The respondent refused to provide those records to the Commission for an in camera inspection, except for the complainant's own complaint. The respondent also refused to disclose the number of complaints against Attorney McDonough.
15. It is found that the requested complaints, in addition to being contained in the client's file that is maintained by the intervenor, are also separately kept on file by the Office of the Chief Public Defender, and are used, received and retained by the respondent.
16. It is also found that the requested complaints pertain to the conduct of the public's business, both because the respondent conducts the public's business in reviewing complaints about the attorneys assigned to public defenders, and because, as described in paragraphs 23 -39 of the findings, below, the records are used by the respondent in decisions to assign, re-assign, and employ individuals as public defenders.
17. It is therefore concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
18. The Commission notes that its findings and conclusion about the actual contents of the requested letters has been limited by the respondent's unwillingness to provide the records for an in camera inspection, and by the fact that the respondent and intervenor offered only testimony about letters of complaint generally, not about the actual records at issue. No witness had reviewed the actual contents of the requested records, at least not since initially receiving them in the ordinary course of business from the clients, and no witness recalled or could testify as to the actual content of the requested records. However, the Commission is obligated to decide this matter based on the record presented by the parties.
52. Because the respondent declined to produce the requested records for in camera inspection, and instead sought to establish the applicability of the privilege upon testimony concerning complaints generally, and testimony concerning the complainant's own complaint about the intervenor and the respondent's responses thereto, the following findings of fact and conclusions of law are necessarily based upon that evidence.
53. It is found that the complainant's own complaints to the respondent about his representation do not seek legal advice. They simply express concerns about his representation by the intervenor, largely complaining about the level of communication from his public defender.
64. It is therefore concluded that the requested records are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(10), G.S., because they are not communications protected by the common law attorney-client privilege.
69. It is concluded that the respondent violated §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide copies of the requested complaint letters to the complainant.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the requested records to the complainant at no charge.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 9, 2010.