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Arizona sheriff's liability for attorney's fees upheld

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  1. Freedom of Information
Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio's office will indeed have to pay more than $25,000 to cover a newspaper's attorney's fees in a…

Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s office will indeed have to pay more than $25,000 to cover a newspaper’s attorney’s fees in a public records case.

The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday said it would not take up an appellate court ruling in Arpaio v. Citizen Publishing, the Phoenix New Times reports. The case started in 2007 when the Tucson Citizen sought records from the Pima County attorney’s office related to a civil forfeiture case that Arpaio’s office had investigated. Arpaio did not want the records disclosed, claiming that their release would violate attorney-client privilege between his office and the Pima County attorney’s office.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall asked a trial court for a declaratory judgment on whether she could properly release the records. That court said the records were public and ordered Arpaio to pay the legal fees of the now-defunct newspaper. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in December.