Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Phoenix New Times in Public Docs Case

february 7, 2008  03:10 pm
The documents in question were held by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the same outfit involved in the secret grand jury kerfuffle that led to the arrests of Village Voice Media executives Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey and, ultimately, to the humiliation of county attorney Andrew Thomas and special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik. New Times originally sought the documents in May 2004; MCSO released them five months later, after New Times was forced to file suit. On Tuesday, the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling, finding that MCSO "wrongfully denied New Times access to public records." The Court of Appeals sent the case back to superior court "for a further determination on the issue of attorney's fees." In the Arizona Republic, the Sheriff's deputy chief admitted that the officer responsible for complying with public-records requests "was truly afraid of the (New Times) reporter, that there was a genuine personal joint vendetta between the two of them."