Update: On April 24, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that state trooper disciplinary records are confidential as a matter of law, based on statutory interpretation.
The Reporters Committee, Gray Television, Inc., and the Anchorage Daily News filed an amicus brief in the Alaska Supreme Court in Basey v. Alaska. The state denied an inmate’s Alaska Public Records Act request seeking records, including disciplinary history, about state troopers. The trial court upheld the state’s denial of access to the records, holding that they are exempt from disclosure as “personnel records” under the State Personnel Act. The amicus brief argues that the “personnel records” exemption includes only information that is traditionally kept private and does not include state employee’s disciplinary records. It also argues that constitutional privacy interests under the Alaska Constitution do not prevent disclosure of the records sought in this case. Finally, the amicus brief emphasizes the important public interest in reporting that relies on state trooper disciplinary records. The brief was written in collaboration with John McKay and attorneys at Ballard Spahr LLP.