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D. Additional dispute resolution procedures


  • Alabama

    The Public Records Law itself does not include any provision regarding enforcement of the Law, and Alabama has trailed other states in this area. Another section of the Alabama Code related to tampering with governmental records could be read to apply to violations of the Public Records Law:

    A person commits the crime of tampering with governmental records if;

    (1) He knowingly makes a false entry in or falsely alters any governmental record; or

    (2) Knowing he lacks the authority to do so, he intentionally destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes or otherwise substantially impairs the verity or availability of any governmental record; or

    (3) Knowing he lacks the authority to retain a governmental record he refuses to deliver up the record in his possession upon proper request of a person lawfully entitled to receive such record for examination or other purposes.

    Ala. Code § 13A-10-12(a) (1994). Violation of the tampering law is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Ala. Code § 13A-10-12(b). Although this statute can be read to apply to public requests for governmental records, it is rarely used to prosecute violators of the Public Records Law. But see Deutcsh v. State, 610 So. 2d 1212 (Ala. Crim. App. 1992) (reversing former Chief of Police of City of Birmingham's conviction under Section 13A-10-12(a)(1) and (2) for tampering with jail docket book, jail computer database, fingerprint card, and fingerprint log to conceal arrest of daughter of Mayor of Birmingham and remanding case for further proceedings).

    The Public Records Law is primarily enforced through the filing of civil actions by citizens, the media and other interested parties.

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  • Kansas

    Any person can bring suit. The state trial court has jurisdiction. K.S.A. 45-222.

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  • New Mexico

    The Attorney General or District Attorney in the jurisdiction has authority to enforce the Inspection of Public Records Act.  NMSA 1978 § 14-2-12(A)(1) (1993).  Any person whose request has been denied may enforce the Act.  § 14-2-12(A)(2) (1993).  A previously unnamed principal may enforce Inspection of Public Records Act, either directly in its own name or through its agent.  San Juan Agric. Water Users Ass'n v. KNME-TV, 2011-NMSC-011, ¶¶ 29-36, 150 N.M. 64, 257 P.3d 884.

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