Uncategorized

Fourth Circuit blasts DEA for delays in responding to public records request

John Coleman has waited five years for records he sought via a Freedom of Information Request submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

And that, said the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today, is long enough. In an opinion by Judge Harvey Wilkinson, the court not only told the agency to get moving but also sent a message, loud and clear, to other agencies taking their time in responding to public records records requests:

We do recognize that agencies face their own challenges in implementing FOIA: the statute and its accompanying regulations are complex; the scope of the exemptions are open to interpretation and dispute; the volume of requests is frequently heavy; and citizens themselves often submit vague requests for voluminous materials. None of this, however, excuses what happened here, namely the agency’s maintenance of complete and utter silence for periods vastly exceeding at every juncture the statute’s requirement of a prompt response. Nowhere in FOIA did Congress contemplate government sitting on its hands for months at a time and doing nothing. The time has come for Coleman to receive resolution of his request of February 29, 2008.

The court sent Coleman’s case back to the district court with orders to “give due weight to the cumulative delays that have transpired in this case and to the importance of transparency in government.”

Check Also

State Supreme Court rules retroactive application of teacher tenure repeal is unconstitutional

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

North Carolina lawmakers’ latest attempt to insert politics into the judiciary was thwarted Tuesday [...]

A N.C. General Assembly budget mandate to fire certain North Carolina public education officials wou [...]

More than a month after a deadline to correct faulty campaign finance reports, N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise [...]

Even before he dropped the gavel on the Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Jerry Tillman, a noto [...]

State budget bill is the latest and best example It’s long been a matter of public record that North [...]

By now the strategy is familiar – the strategy used by the N.C. General Assembly’s Republican chiefs [...]

The post The devil and the details appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

18---percentage of people in North Carolina who receive health care coverage from Medicaid or the Ch [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more
 


 
NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more
 


 
Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more