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West Virginia Police Report of Fight Between Juveniles is a Disclosable Public Record Under State FOIA

Ogden Newspapers, Inc. (Paper), sued the City of Williamstown in state court to compel disclosure of police reports about a fight between two juveniles, pursuant to the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), W.Va. Code § 29B-1-I et seq. The trial court dismissed, finding that the reports were exempt from disclosure under the FOIA because they involved juveniles, thus, weren’t public records. The Paper appealed.

On appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled that since the records could be disclosed in redacted form, so as to protect the juveniles’ identities, they were disclosable public records under the FOIA. On that basis, the Court reversed the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings. See: Ogden Newspapers, Inc. v. City of Williamstown, 192 W.Va. 648; 453 S.E.2d 631 (1994).

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Related legal case

Ogden Newspapers, Inc. v. City of Williamstown