WAKE COUNTY JUDGE ORDERS STATE TO TURN OVER PUBLIC RECORDS, RULES FOR NCICL

Jeanette Doran doran@ncicl.org
Dec 21st, 2010
by Elizabeth Lincicome

 

RALEIGH, NC—Today, the Wake County Superior Court under Presiding Judge Paul G. Gessner handed the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (NCICL) a victory in its case against the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, and Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall, in her official capacity (Defendants). 

 

The case centered around NCICL’s request for public records and for information pertaining to an apparent lobbying law violation involving Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (“Spirit Aero”). 

 

"It’s a major win for open government and the accountability of lobbyist activities around the state,” said Robert F. Orr, NCICL’s executive director and senior counsel.

 

In a six page order, Judge Gessner concluded as a matter of law that “the records and information sought by Plaintiff to wit, an explanation of what action or inaction Defendants took in response to Plaintiff’s complaint of lobbying law violations, is not confidential records or confidential information so as to except that information from the Public Records Law or to permit Defendants to refuse Plaintiff full and complete access to that information.” 

 

The Judge further concluded as a matter of law that the State’s interpretation that the records sought were confidential violates not only the public records laws but also Article I, §§ 14 and 18 of the North Carolina Constitution. The State has been ordered to provide the records NCICL requested including “a complete explanation of what procedural actions have taken place in regard to any lobbying law violation including fines levied or referrals to the District Attorney of Wake County.”

 

The Order can be found on NCICL’s website at www.ncicl.org. Founded in 2003, the Raleigh-based NCICL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization devoted to educating the public, bar, and policymakers about constitutional issues, particularly economic and related issues, both national and in North Carolina and, when appropriate, litigating such constitutional issues.

 

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If you would like more information on this topic, please call Jeanette Doran at 919-838-5313 or email doran@ncicl.org .