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Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

 Archived Posts From:  May 2009

09-IB03 RE: Freedom of Information Act Complaint Against Sussex County

Complainant asserts that County violated FOIA by charging an unreasonable amount for copies of text messages and emails which constitute approximately 1,180 pages. County requested a fee of $354 for paper copies and $227.12 for electronic copies on CD. County also charged another person same amount for same FOIA request. HELD: Charge was reasonable and reasonably calculated. However, County cannot charge for both requests unless it incurs duplicate costs for retrieval.

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09-IB02 5/05/09 Street v. Colonial School District

Councilman Street asked whether the School District Board of Education (the “Board”) violated FOIA by removing a letter a member of the public distributed to the Board members prior to a public meeting and had a State Trooper escort that member of the public out of the building before the meeting started. Prior to the meeting when the Board Secretary began reviewing the letter, Mr. Hynson, a member of the public, approached the secretary and began yelling at him. The Board delayed the meeting for about six minutes in order for them to call the police. A State Trooper arrived and escorted Mr. Hynson from the building. According to witnesses, Mr. Hynson continued to yell the entire time. HELD: FOIA is silent as to whether a member of the public has the right to distribute papers to the members of a public body. FOIA is not concerned with the public’s ability to communicate with a public body, only with the public’s opportunity to observe that body. FOIA does allow a public body to remove a member of the public if they are “willfully and seriously disruptive.” The Board was justified in removing Mr. Hynson.

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