Pennsylvania

8. Judicial remedies available.

The reviewing court may affirm or reverse the agency’s decision and, in certain situations discussed below, award reasonable attorneys fees and costs.

The Act spells out what the court must include in its decision: “The decision of the court shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law based upon the evidence as a whole. The decision shall clearly and concisely explain the rationale for the decision.” Sections 1301(a), 1302(a).

2. Photographic recordings allowed. M1F2

Recording devices include video cameras. Hain v. Board of Sch. Directors of Reading Sch. Dist., 641 A.2d 661, 664 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1994).

N. Police records.

The Act contains a broad exemption for records “relating to or resulting in a criminal investigation.” This exemption includes complaints, investigative materials, confidential source records, victim information and other records. Section 708(b)(16). See §  IV((K)(4) supra.

7. Others.

None other than those identified infra.

A. Generally

1. Shield Law

Unlike most other states' shield laws, the Pennsylvania Shield Law "creates an absolute privilege" that protects information "from disclosure without analysis of plaintiffs' need for the information." Davis v. Glanton, 705 A.2d 879, 883 (Pa. Super. 1997). The Shield Law "must be liberally construed in favor of the newspapers and news media." In re Taylor, 193 A.2d 181, 185 (Pa. 1963).

D. Federal programs. M3D

Open if agency business or official action is involved unless one of the Act's exceptions applies.

c. Are only certain agencies subject to the act? M1C1C

All entities deemed “agencies” are subject to the Act.

O. Prison, parole and probation reports.

Although the Act contains no exemption for such records, 37 Pa. Code § 61.2 classifies all parole and probation recommendations as “private and confidential” and thus exempt from disclosure under Section 305(a)(3).  See, e.g. Jones v. Office of Open Records, 993 A.2d 339 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2010).