Editorial: Who owns our public record?

July 1, 2017
Daily Press

The state Supreme Court ruled against us this week. Not against us, the Daily Press — against us, the citizens of Virginia. Including you, gentle reader.

Yes, it was the newspaper that filed, pursued and appealed the case, which sought access to a statewide database of information abstracted from circuit court clerks' files. But the true issue is the public's right to see a record — the database — that belongs to the citizens of Virginia.

We asked for a copy of that database by invoking Virginia's Freedom of Information Act. Among other things, our FOIA says databases are public records and that public bodies — in this case the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court — must provide them unless FOIA specifically says it can refuse. FOIA says not one word about the OES or its database.

We challenged these officials before the same state Supreme Court that appointed them. In a case that reflects evolving technology, the court's ruling left the people of Virginia dangling.

Read more here: http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/editorials/dp-edt-foia-records-07....