Rutter requested "the complete case file" for five cases in which he was the defendant. The DA claimed the request fell short of statutory requirements. Rutter petitioned the court, and the DA filed a motion to dismiss claiming "Tennessee law does not require an official to copy records and deliver them to a requesting citizen."
The Sullivan County Chancery Court held that Rutter had a right to make the public records request but ordered that he amend the request for specificity. Once amended, the DA again moved for dismissal, claiming that Rutter had not complied with the order because a search was required to determine discloseable documents to produce. The court granted the motion to dismiss and Rutter appealed.
The Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville reversed and remanded, holding that the requested documents were "very precisely described" and that the chancery court had erred in ordering an amended records request. The appellate court found that the only search necessary was due to the DA's responsibility to determine which documents were exempt from disclosure and why. See: Rutter v. Wells, (Tenn. Ct. App. 2004); 2004 WL 2159023.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login
Related legal case
Rutter v. Wells
|Cite||(Tenn. Ct. App. 2004); 2004 WL 2159023|
|Level||State Court of Appeals|