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National Lawyers Guild v. Hayward (California Supreme Court)

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  1. Freedom of Information

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 33 media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of the National Lawyers Guild in National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, a case before the California Supreme Court.  In response to a California Public Records Act request by National Lawyers Guild, Hayward charged more than $3000 for police bodycam footage of a protest related to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. National Lawyers Guild brought suit, arguing that the CPRA does not permit Hayward to charge requesters fees for the time it takes to redact body-worn camera footage. The amicus brief argues that the California Court of Appeal erred in holding that the fees are permitted under the CPRA.  It emphasizes that this ruling threatens public access to all electronic records, which is particularly concerning given the increasing number of public records that are electronic records. In addition, the amicus brief argues that these fees will inhibit pubic access to records critical to public oversight of law enforcement.