Pennsylvania

c. Source is an eyewitness to a crime

Even where a confidential source is (or may be) an eyewitness to a crime, the Shield Law provides absolute protection against disclosure of confidential source information. In Castellani v. The Scranton Times, L.P., -- A.2d --, 2007 WL 10366 (Pa.. Super.), 35 Media L. Rep. 1097, 2007 PA Super 2 (2007), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the Shield Law remained an absolute privilege even though at issue in the underlying defamation case was whether the newspaper's confidential source violated grand jury secrecy.

4. Deeds, liens, foreclosures, title history.

Under the old Act, deeds and mortgages, to which the agency is not a party, are not public records. See, e.g., Inkpen v. Roberts, 862 A.2d 700 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2004).  However, under Inkpen, the requesting party bore the burden of proving that the record was a public record. Id.  Under the new act, deeds and mortgages are presumptively accessible.

a. General or specific?

Section 708 of the Act contains numerous exemptions. Some are general, while others are specific.

2. When barred from attending. M4A2

There is no provision in the statute for expedited consideration of a Sunshine Act suit. Such considerations can be obtained by request, or by seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.

4. Infectious disease and health epidemics.

See II(B) § (4) related to HIV/AIDS testing records.

B. Dependency

Overview

Pennsylvania

E. Categories of meetings subject to the law. M1E

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

A. Newspaper articles

Newspaper articles are self-authenticating under Pennsylvania law. Pa. R. Evid. 902(6). Accordingly, there is no need for testimony that a particular article actually appeared in the publication.

4. Public matter on private e-mail

An open records officer must make a good faith determination as to whether any relevant document on a public official’s private email constitutes a “public record.”  See 65 P.S. §§ 67.502; 67.901; Silberstein, 2011 WL 31550 at *1 (the open records officer is required to direct relevant requests to appropriate public officials and determine whether that official is in possession, custody or control of a “public record”).