Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Novel Argument: We Deleted, So They're Exempt!

A judge wants a closer look at why the Harris County Sheriff's Office believes its mass deletion of 750,000 e-mails from employees' computer inboxes makes the correspondence exempt from the Texas Public Information Act.

The mass e-mail deletion — six months' worth — was ordered Jan. 9 but executed on Jan. 12, one day after television reporter Wayne Dolcefino of KTRK (Channel 13) requested e-mails from the Sheriff's Office.

Dolcefino received some e-mails from the Sheriff's Office but his station contends they are not sure if they got all of them because the order to delete messages more than 14 days old coincided with requests he had made, the station's attorney says.

"There is some coincidental issue," said John Edwards, attorney for KTRK.

The station obtained a temporary injunction against the Sheriff's Office to halt the deletions once KTRK learned of them and requested copies of the e-mails deleted from employees' inboxes, which occurred between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19.

More here.

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