State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2017-28
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
MATTHEW WINTERS, Petitioner, v.
WEST JORDAN CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 17-28
By this appeal, Petitioner, Matthew Winters, seeks access to records held by Respondent, West Jordan Police Department.
On April 25, 2017, Mr. Winters made a records request to the West Jordan Police Department ("Respondent"), pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. Winters requested "[a]ll video and audio – car camera, body camera and middle school DVD surveillance." Respondent partially granted the request, but denied the request to produce certain video and audio because they were regarding juveniles, and the City classified them as private.
Mr. Winters appealed the denial to the City Manager, identifying the records he expected the City to produce, and on May 8, 2017, the City Manager denied the appeal. Mr. Winters filed an appeal before the State Records Committee ("Committee"). The Committee having reviewed the arguments submitted by the parties and having heard oral argument and testimony on August 10, 2017, now issues the following Decision and Order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
1. GRAMA specifies that “all records are public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute.” Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-201(2). Records that are not public are designated as either “private,” “protected,” or “controlled.” See, Utah Code Ann. §§ 63G-2-302, -303, -304 and -305.
2. Records containing data on individuals, the disclosure of which constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and records containing data on individuals describing medical history, diagnosis, condition, treatment, evaluation, or similar medical data are private. Utah Code § 63G-2-302(d) and -302(1)(b).
3. Generally, audio and video recordings created by a body-worn camera that record sound or images inside a home or residence are private if properly classified by a governmental entity. Utah Code § 63G-2-302(2)(g).
4. At the hearing, the Respondent argued it would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy to release the videos. The videos contained images of juveniles allegedly involved in acts that could result in juvenile court proceeding for the juveniles. The Respondent also stated that release of the videos could reveal information regarding a medical condition of one of the juveniles.
5. The Committee having reviewed Mr. Winter’s records requests, and the arguments and testimony of the parties, finds that the videos are public; however records containing data on individuals describing their medical history, diagnosis, condition, treatment, evaluation or similar data; any audio and video recordings created by a body-worn camera that record sound or images inside a home or residence; and lastly, any personally identifiable information regarding the juveniles is private and should be redacted pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-302(1)(b), -302(2)(g), and -302(2)(d). In that the records contain both public and private information, the governmental entity is obligated to segregate the records by classification and provide access to information to which the requester is entitled. See, Utah Code § 63G-2-308.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Matthew Winters, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo, but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect its rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor for executive branch entities, to the Legislative Management Committee for legislative branch entities, and to the Judicial Council for judicial branch agencies’ entities. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 21st day of August 2017.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
DAVID FLEMING, Chairperson
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated August 22, 2017 .