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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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hattiesburg Scalia Flap Ends

The Hattiesburg American, much to its credit, just won a three-year fight for a piece of paper:

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday agreed that the Hattiesburg American was improperly denied access to documents into an investigation of the seizure of reporters' tapes of a 2004 speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The decision comes more than two years after the newspaper appealed the U.S. Marshals Service's refusal to allow access to records pertaining to the seizure of tapes of Scalia's speech at Presbyterian Christian School in April 2004.

anice McLeod, associate director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Information and Privacy, determined that the Marshals Service acted inappropriately when it denied the newspaper access to investigation records.

The investigation began after a marshal seized the tapes of Hattiesburg American reporter Antoinette Konz and Associated Press reporter Denise Grones.

The marshal said she acted at the direction of Scalia.

The Hattiesburg American and the Associated Press later successfully sued the Marshals Service. Scalia also sent written apologies to the reporters, saying the marshal had not acted at his direction.

However, the Hattiesburg American's Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the investigation was denied by the Marshals Service. The newspaper had requested a copy of the final report related to the investigation, transcripts of interviews conducted during the investigation and guidelines for handling the media provided to agents who provide security for judicial officers.

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