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First Amendment Coalition Wins Public Records Case Against San Diego DA’s Office

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan speaks during a news confer...

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan speaks during a news conference at the Hall of Justice downtown, May 21, 2019.

The First Amendment Coalition announced Monday that a San Diego Superior Court judge ordered San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan to disclose public records regarding accusations of sexual misconduct by public sector employees.

The FAC filed suit against Stephan's office in July 2018, alleging that it was skirting the California Public Records Act. The DA's office argued that providing summaries of the requested records, but not the records themselves, was in compliance with state law.

"The district attorney's assertion that summaries are sufficient would turn the public records act on its head, allowing agencies to spin facts to their liking," FAC Executive Director David Snyder said. "If unchallenged, this position would open the door to wide abuses."

In July, Superior Court Judge David Rubin ordered the DA's office to provide the requested records and ordered the county to recoup the FAC's legal and attorney fees. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the settlement of $97,500 in closed session during its Oct. 16 meeting.

The county must pay the fees by Oct. 31, according to FAC.

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