Thursday, November 5, 2009

ARE OPEN RECORDS UNDER ATTACK?

The Courier Journal did yet another piece today based on their Kentucky Open Records law request regarding the King divorce records. Believe it or not I am not going to spend this article on King.

Other than the fact that FitzGerald did allow a handful of documents to be kept private, including custodial evaluations of the Kings and a 1991 affidavit by Rebecca King that involved the state of mind of one of their three children, rumored to be Katie King, I have no real problem except this.

Don Cox, a lawyer for Rebecca King, said his client would like to negotiate a settlement with the newspaper to keep certain documents private and avoid an appeal.
“We’re hopeful we can reach a resolution of this issue,” he said.
The newspaper’s executive editor, Bennie Ivory, said, “We’re pleased with the judge’s decision, and we’re waiting to see the records that she authorized to be made public.”

The article can be found here: Judge refuses to seal Kings’ divorce records courier-journal.com The Courier-Journal

This is the problem for me. ALL divorce records are public regardless of who you are.

Take Jim King out of the mix for a minute if you will. I know it is hard to do even for me but consider this.

What precedent does it set if a "deal" is reached with a media outlet that would allow certain parts of the case to be private?

What happens to open records then. No independent authority should be able to make a deal that will affect ALL on behalf of a petitioner.

If the CJ agrees to keep certain parts of the file confidential, would I have to agree to the same thing by default? I think not. If the CJ agrees NOT to report certain segments that agreement does not and should not affect anyone else who gains public records.

If the Judge agrees to keep certain info private because of a deal between Cox and the CJ then it cannot apply to anyone else. Period.

What the CJ agrees to report or not report is there business but to compromise the open records process is all of our business. There are things I report all the time that the CJ will not. Many of us do.

SO in this case does this mean the King's, particularly Rebecca King and her attorney Cox, are going to make "deals" with each and every person that gets a copy of the file to keep them quiet?

Does this mean the Judge will seal part of the records because the CJ agreed to it. we must stay tuned and pay attention to this case.

I am not sure I like the precedent this may set in regards to open records.

Your thoughts?

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