Judge: Denying access to database is 'nonsensical'

A judge in Newport News has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Daily Press and reporter Dave Ress that seeks access to a statewide database of circuit court records.

In a story reported by Ryan Murphy of the Daily Press, Circuit Court Judge David Pugh called objections to releasing the database "nonsensical." Pugh added that the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia - the defendant in the lawsuit - appears to be responsible for making the database available. Pugh scheduled a trial for Feb. 16, 2016.

The case is significant because the OES is taxpayer-funded and provides access to online records for public use.

The Daily Press has been pushing for access to the entire database for months, arguing that the information is a public record with critical information about how well and fairly the state's courts work.