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Arizona Jail Detainees' Offense Report's Disclosure Statutorily Mandated

Pima County (Arizona) Jail detainee Lawrence Carlson appealed a court dismissal of his action for defamation against Sheriff Clarence Duprik. Duprik released an offense report to the press resulting in a slanderous article. The report was ruled a public record and the dismissal was affirmed.

Carlson and two other jail prisoners were accused of rape by another prisoner. The Sheriff filled out a report on the accusations and subsequently released it to a United Press International reporter. The resulting article named Carlson as being accused of forcible oral sex upon a prisoner. Carlson brought the action claiming that the records were labeled "restricted" and "limited access." The court dismissed the action and Carlson appealed.

On appeal, the Division Two Court of Appeals of Arizona affirmed the dismissal. It was held that the Sheriff prepared the report in the course of his official duties which made the report public record mandating it's production. The court further held that the labeling referred to was only on a copy and made in error. See: Carlson v. Pima County, 141 Ariz. 517, 687 P.2d 1272 (Ariz. App. 1983).

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Related legal case

Carlson v. Pima County