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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lawsuit could have deleted e-mails recovered by a forensic computer expert

Editor-in-chief of The Toledo (Ohio) Blade, which requested e-mail records of Seneca County commissioners, says this is "the most important [public records] case in the last 20 years." The ruling could determine whether the court will fight against officials deleting e-mails.
The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday grappled with the realities of the computer age as it weighed the question of when a “deleted” public record becomes a “destroyed” public record.

At issue is a lawsuit by The Blade seeking to force the Seneca County commissioners to hire a forensic computer expert at county expense to recover deleted e-mails from an 18-month period, some of which the newspaper contends may contain illegal private communications related to the proposed razing of the county’s historic courthouse.

“We’re talking about a very finite amount of time here, and we’re talking about e-mails from two or three people to one another,” said Justice Maureen O’Connor. “It just doesn’t seem to me to be that overwhelmingly burdensome or such a huge task here for the county to not even attempt to comply.”
More here.

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