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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Now HERE is a novel twist on FOI...

A man who suspected his wife of having an affair should be able to see messages exchanged through state government e-mail accounts by his wife and her co-worker, a judge ruled yesterday.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip J. Shepherd ordered the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to give Stephen Malmer e-mails written between his wife, Bobbie Malmer, and former state employee David Moss from Nov. 1, 2005, to June 1, 2006.

Stephen Malmer of Frankfort requested the e-mails in June 2006, saying they were public records covered by the Open Records Act.

Malmer said last night he wanted the e-mails because he suspected his wife was having an affair. Although his wife has since confessed to the affair, Stephen Malmer said, he still has questions and wants to see the case through for closure.

"It's been such a nightmare," Stephen Malmer said. "I was horrified by the amount of opposition I ran up against."

Malmer said his wife has been supportive in his fight for the e-mails. He said she no longer has access to the e-mails and can't provide them herself.

The Cabinet's general counsel said the e-mails were exempt from public disclosure for reasons including a personal privacy exception to the statute, and it denied the request.

The Office of the Attorney General later found the Cabinet violated the Open Records Act, and Shepherd agreed.

"In this case, the communications are by definition non-work-related, but that does not mean there is no public interest in the disclosure of such e-mails," Shepherd wrote in his ruling. "The fact that state employees are using state resources to exchange non-work-related messages during working hours is a matter of legitimate inquiry for the public."

More here.

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