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Sheriff charges newspaper $10 for FOIA denial

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  1. Freedom of Information
A Michigan sheriff apparently took Freedom of Information Act denials to a new, unfriendly extreme when he charged a newspaper…

A Michigan sheriff apparently took Freedom of Information Act denials to a new, unfriendly extreme when he charged a newspaper $10 for a two-paragraph letter refusing a records request.

The (Owosso) Argus-Press reported Monday it was billed $10 for the service of having its request for records relating to a former police officer denied. Shiawassee County Sheriff Jon Wilson wrote that "internal labor issues are not subject to FOIA" and said he had "no knowledge" of the officer’s "employment issues" anyway, according to the newspaper.

But the newspaper reports that the same day, Wilson sent the very same officer a letter about such issues.

The Argus-Press spoke with a lawyer for the Michigan Press Association, Dawn Hertz, who said the $10 invoice was out of line and Wilson’s use of a labor exemption to deny the newspaper’s request didn’t seem justified, either.