Knowing and willful violators of the Act—those who (1) fail to refuse to provide access to records not subject to exemption, (2) fail or refuse to provide such access within the Act’s time limits or (3) frustrate or attempt to frustrate such access by intentionally making records difficult to obtain or review—may be criminally prosecuted and found guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation and $2,500 for each repeat violation within 12 months of the first fine’s imposition. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-74(a).
In addition, the Act provides that persons or entities that destroy records for the purpose of preventing their disclosure under the Act may be subject to criminal prosecution under O.C.G.A. § 45-11-1, a felony. § 50-18-74(b).
In an action brought by a private person under K.S.A. 45-222, “[t]he district court may require a defendant to complete training approved by the attorney general concerning the requirements of the open records act.” K.S.A. 45-222(a). In a private enforcement action, attorney fees may be awarded to a party if the court finds that the other party’s conduct was in bad faith and without a reasonable basis in fact or law. K.S.A. 45-222(c).
The Law provides for a civil penalty in two situations:
A civil penalty of “not more than $1,500” if an agency denied access to a public record “in bad faith.” 65 Pa. C.S.A. 67.1305(a).
A civil penalty of “not more than $500 per day until the public records are provided” if the agency or public official “does not promptly comply with a court order.” § 67.1305(b).
The Law does not explicitly provide for criminal liability. Yet it provides for immunity from civil and criminal liability in certain circumstances.
It states that “[e]xcept as provided for in sections 1304 and 1305 and other statutes governing the release of records, no agency, public official or public employee shall be liable for civil damages or penalties resulting from compliance or failure to comply with this act.” Id. § 67.1306(a).
Moreover, “[n]o agency, public official or public employees shall be liable for civil or criminal damages or penalties under this act for complying with any written public record retention and disposition schedule.” Id. § 67.1306(b).
Other statutory provisions penalize a failure to disclose. See, e.g., 25 Pa. C.S.A. § 3503-04 (misdemeanor, punishable by fine or imprisonment, to refuse to permit inspection of election records).
If the court finds that an authority or custodian has "arbitrarily and capriciously denied or delayed response to a request or charged excessive fees, the court may award punitive damages to the requester." Wis. Stat. § 19.37(3).