Rhode Island

FOREWORD

Open Records. Rhode Island enacted its open records statute, the Access to Public Records Act ("APRA"), R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 38-2-1 et seq., in 1979, making it the forty-ninth state to pass such legislation. The APRA was substantially amended in 1991 and 1998.

E. Grand jury records

Overview

Rhode Island

(2). Are minutes a public record?

The minutes of a closed session shall be made available at the next regularly scheduled meeting unless the majority of the body both votes to extend the time period and publically state the reason for extending the time period. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-7(c).

c. Partial disclosure of information

In Fischer v. McGowan, 585 F. Supp. 978 (D.R.I. 1984), plaintiffs sought to compel disclosure of certain unnamed sources of an allegedly libelous article in an Australian newspaper about the financial troubles of the America's Cup yacht. The author of the article, who had not been named as a defendant, claimed privilege and moved to quash. Drawing on decisions from other jurisdictions, the court found that the reporter had not waived his privileges under the shield law by disclosing some of his sources or by providing a generic description of the undisclosed sources.

8. Judicial remedies available.

Suit may be filed for injunctive or declaratory relief. R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-8(b). In Rhode Island Federation of Teachers v. Sundlun, 595 A.2d 799 (R.I. 1991), the Court held that this section does not provide a remedy to compel nondisclosure when a public body or official is about to disclose material that might be entitled to an exemption under this Act.

5. Expense reports.

There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

5. Multi-state or regional bodies.

The APRA is limited to bodies "of the state, or any political subdivision thereof." R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(1) (1999).

B. Probate

Overview

Rhode Island

A. Adjudications by administrative bodies.

No specific exemption. May be covered by exemption (4), which includes investigative proceedings regarding allegations of civil or criminal misconduct.