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Exclusion of Prisoners from Virginia FOIA Upheld

The plaintiff sued the county court clerk for refusing to make a recording of a 911 call available for copying and inspection, and challenged the exclusion of prisoners from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

The Burford abstention doctrine does not require dismissal, since the statute is not susceptible to a limiting construction.

While the general public and press enjoy a qualified right of access under the First Amendment to criminal proceedings and records of them, the plaintiff had already been given as much access to this recording as the general public had (it was played in court at his trial and he was given a copy of the transcript), and he is entitled to no more. See: Fisher v. King, 232 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2000).

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Related legal case

Fisher v. King