Judge O'Toole on Open Government

State v. Perry, 11th Dist. Trumbull, 2015-Ohio-1221

 

Authored by Judge O’Toole:  Judge O’Toole held that Ohio courts of appeals can take judicial notice of public records accessible on the Internet.

 

Lusane v. Heverly, 11th Dist. Portage, 2015-Ohio-714, and

Ziegler v. Ohio Dept. of Pub. Safety, 11th Dist. Lake, 2015-Ohio-139

 

Judge O’Toole Concurred: The petitioners sought to order the disclosure of various public records relating to their arrests.  The court held that a relator in a statutory public records mandamus action need not prove a lack of adequate remedy at law.

 

City of Mentor v. Meyers, 11th Dist. Lake, 2014-Ohio-2011

 

Judge O’Toole Dissents: Judge O’Toole wrote that an indigent is entitled to a record of sufficient completeness and that equal justice should not depend on the size of the defendant’s pocketbook.

 

State ex rel. Dehler v. Kelly, 11th Dist. Trumbull, 2010-Ohio-3053

 

Judge O’Toole Concurred: The movant made a public records request under R.C. 149.43.  However, prison employees failed to satisfy the request.  The movant was granted a writ of mandamus because the court held he submitted a proper request to inspect or copy certain public records and the prison employees and director did not establish any justifiable reason for their refusal to comply with the request.  The court noted that any person or public office that is required to maintain any public records is also obligated to organize those records in such a way that they can be readily accessible for inspection by the public.  The court further indicated that upon request, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection at cost and within a reasonable period of time.      

 

State v. Baiduc, 11th Dist. Geauga, 2007-Ohio-4963 -

Judge O’Toole Concurred in Part and Dissented in Part:

 

Judge O’Toole noted that the court was being asked to consider simple facts: whether the dockets of appellant’s record, held in a clerk’s office and part of the public record, show he made uncounseled pleas?  If so, it the record shows a case of ineffective assistance of counsel.  Judge O’Toole disagreed that court records may not be used for determining the existence of facts – particularly facts which would only appear in those records, on the docket in a clerk’s office, such as whether a defendant was represented by counsel.  Judge O’Toole stated that courts can take judicial notice of dockets and that in this day of computerized records, including a clerk of court docket, it is no burden to obtain and review such records.

 

Radtke v. Chester Twp., 2015-Ohio-4016

 

Judge O’Toole Concurred: Judge O’Toole wrote separately regarding the narrow interpretation of R.C. 121.22, Ohio’s Open Meetings Act, known as the “Sunshine Law.”  Judge O’Toole stated: “R.C. 121.22 fails to take into consideration various technological advancements, including not only e-mail, but other advancements as well, such as instant messaging, group text messaging, FaceTime, and Skype.  R.C. 121.22 also fails to take into consideration the simultaneous nature of such communication.  In essence, R.C. 121.22, as written, creates a conundrum.  In other words, the spirit of the law is not in tune with the letter of the law.  Nevertheless, Ohio’s current law makes no mention of electronic communication as being subject to the law and no Ohio case holds that it is.”

 

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