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County Prosecutor, Juvenile Court Manager's E-mails Ordered Disclosed Regarding Court's Dissolution

The Cowles Publishing Company (CPC) appealed an Idaho state district court’s ruling for non-disclosure of a settlement agreement regarding the dissolution of the Kootenai County Juvenile Education Training Court (JETC). Former JETC manager Marina Kalani appealed the same court's ruling that ordered disclosure of e-mails between her and JETC supervisor William Douglas, the Kootenai County Prosecutor. Both rulings were affirmed.

A U.S. Department of Justice grant made the JETC possible, but the program’s federal funding was pulled based on noncompliance with quarterly financial filings. Douglas defended Kalani's managerial actions and continued the JETC with county funds, which prompted an investigation by the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners. Juvenile detention center manager J.T. Taylor reported to the press that Kalani's alleged "inappropriate, unprofessional, and unethical conduct" and "questionable practices" had led to her resignation as manager, which resulted in a settlement agreement with the county. Douglas' attorney submitted the settlement agreement to the district court when questions arose regarding the actual amount Kalani had received; the agreement was then ordered sealed.

On appeal by Kalani and the CPC, the district court's rulings were affirmed by the Supreme Court of Idaho, which held the e-mails were public records subject to disclosure but the settlement agreement was exempt from disclosure. See: Cowles Publishing Company v. The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners, 144 Idaho 259, 159 P.3d 896 (Idaho, 2007).

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Related legal case

Cowles Publishing Company v. The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners