Saturday, February 4, 2017

SCOTX further undermines Texas Public Information Act....


"He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."
Proverbs 28:13

But of course:
In another decision that has alarmed open government advocates, the Texas Supreme Court on Friday carved out a special exception for public access to government information involving communication with lawyers.

The 7-2 ruling said protecting attorney-client privilege is too important to force governments to disclose such information, even if the Texas Public Information Act’s requirements aren’t followed.

Attorney-client privilege ensures the free flow of information and protects access to legal advice that is vital to better formulate government policy, said the opinion by Justice Eva Guzman.

“Full and frank legal discourse also protects the government’s interest in litigation, business transactions and other matters affecting the public,” Guzman wrote.

Writing in dissent, Justice Jeff Boyd said the ruling “obliterates” the only part of state law that requires governments to respond to requests for information involving attorneys.

“Nothing in the act supports the court’s decision to grant the privilege such special treatment. Nor do the court’s hyperbolic assertions that holding otherwise might cause the government to stop relying on legal advice,” Boyd said in an opinion joined by Justice Phil Johnson.

The case involved separate requests by The Dallas Morning News for information on deals involving a landfill and convention center hotel.
Read the whole thing here.

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