Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision is victory for government transparency

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: October 24, 2013
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In refusing to hear the appeal of a lower court's ruling that said dashboard video cameras in police cars can be considered open records, the Oklahoma Supreme Court said plenty about the importance of government transparency.

Justices on Monday declined to hear an appeal in a case brought by the city of Claremore. The city had lost this spring before the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, which said dash-cam videos are indeed subject to release under the state's Open Records Act. The case stemmed from efforts in 2011 by defense attorneys to obtain videotape and audiotape of the arrest of a client charged with drunken driving. The city said no, arguing that the videotape was evidentiary and thus could be withheld. In overturning a lower-court ruling, the Court of Civil Appeals said the Open Records Act contained no such exemption.

This week the state's highest court bolstered that finding, with all nine justices in accord. “It's a big win for open government, again,” attorney Josh Lee, who sought the records along with two other attorneys, told the Tulsa World.

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