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NEWS > 03 June 2011

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NSW Police to get hacking powe
The New South Wales Government has unveiled plans to give state police the power to hack into computers remotely, with owners potentially remaining in the dark about the searches for up to three years.

The new powers are part of a package introduced into parliament last week by Premier Nathan Rees. Broadly, they aim to give police the right to apply for covert search warrants from the Supreme Court to gather evidence in cases which could involve serious indictable offences punishable by at least seven years' imprisonment.

Judges issuing the new warrants could authorise owners... Read more

 Article sourced from

Ethics in Policing
The State Journal-Register
03 June 2011
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Ethics in Policing

Judge again rules that police misconduct files are public records

A Sangamon County judge on Friday ruled that internal affairs files on alleged police misconduct are public records.

The decision by Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley marked the second time in less than a month that Kelley has ruled that the city of Springfield cannot withhold files requested by Calvin Christian III, who says he has been harassed by police during traffic stops.

Kelley last month ruled that the city could not withhold files based on a clause in the Freedom of Information Act that says public bodies can withhold records relating to adjudication of employee disciplinary cases. After that ruling, the city on May 26 filed a motion stating that some of the files should be kept secret on the grounds that they contain medical records. Other files should not be made public because they contain information about juveniles, the city argued.

Kelley rejected both arguments. While he said the names of juveniles should be redacted, the balance of the files must be made public, Kelley said.

“I’ve got an obligation not only to protect the public interest in disclosure and personal privacy rights when required,” Kelley said from the bench. “I believe the medical records, having looked at those, should be disclosed in their entirety, including the names.”

Kelley denied a request by Christian’s lawyers to forbid the city from citing additional grounds for secrecy after its initial arguments were rejected. The judge said his decision to redact names and order files released was based on a section of FOIA that requires judges to review documents and decide what should and should not be made public.

“I’m not ruling that the city can assert these (FOIA exemptions) at a late date or cannot,” Kelley said.

In a written order issued Friday, Kelley said the records will be sealed pending review by an appellate court. He also wrote that the city has indicated it will appeal, so he will reserve ruling on the plaintiff’s request for legal fees and civil penalties.

Under revisions to the law that took effect last year, public bodies that lose FOIA cases must pay plaintiffs’ legal expenses, and public bodies can also be required to pay penalties as high as $5,000.

Mayor Mike Houston said he has not decided whether to appeal the case.

“What I intend to do is review the internal affairs files myself and sit down with legal and make a recommendation based on the case,” Houston said. “I haven’t read the case and I haven’t talked to legal, so I can’t give you specifics.”

After the hearing, Christian said the public should not be required to trust police administrators to evaluate complaints that are never made public.

“We’re leaving it up to the chief of police as well as internal affairs to determine if there’s any similarity in complaints,” Christian said.

John Myers, one of Christian’s attorneys, praised Kelley’s decision.

“Anytime you get 98 percent, that’s a victory,” Myers said.

 
 


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