The identity of a witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised. This part of the exemption is bad policy. For someone to qualify as a "witness," that person must have firsthand knowledge of information that is relevant to a violation of the law that authorities are trying to enforce. Despite the statutory exemption, witnesses testify publicly in open court virtually always, and their identities are placed on witness lists that are open to the public when filed with the court.
Personnel Information Required to Be Made Available For Inspection
Therefore, promising confidentiality to a bona fide "witness" should rarely be "reasonably" promised because the court system mandates making that person's identity public, and exceedingly rarely would abide by the promise if the law enforcement agency insisted that the witness testify in some way that conceals the witness' identity. The exemption did not authorize a university to promise confidentiality to employees in exchange for obtaining information for use in deciding whether to promote or give tenure to another employee.
James v. Where an agency is investigating whether one of the agency's supervisors for allegedly sexually harassing subordinate employees, the investigator reasonably promised confidentiality to the alleged victims when interviewing them, and to other employees whom he interviewed. Yant v. Conrad , 74 Ohio St.
Information provided by an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised, which information would reasonably tend to disclose the source's or witness' identity. Beacon Journal Pub. Kent State Univ. Thus, releasing the redacted letters creates no 'high probability of disclosure' of the confidential informant's identity.
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Specific confidential investigatory techniques. Specific confidential investigatory procedures. Routine investigatory procedures do not qualify under this exemption. Specific investigatory work product. This is probably the most litigated part of the confidential law investigatory records exemption.
It covers the records produced by investigators in the course of a law enforcement investigation. The exemption applies to coroners' autopsy reports. But records that were public records before the investigation started retain that status even if investigators gather and keep them in the course of investigating—even if they contain evidence of a crime. Records that are unquestionably nonexempt, e.
Gannett Satellite Network Inc. Petro , 80 Ohio St. Information gathered during an investigation is not specific investigatory work product when it is not clear that a crime has occurred, because the records are then compiled by law enforcement investigators to determine if any crime has occurred. When police officers first respond to a call for service, they document on a preprinted form or digital form what they saw and heard when they arrived at the scene of the incident.
Those reports often are referred to by the press and public as "police reports.
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Incident reports are not specific investigatory work product, and so are public records. Miller v. Pinkney , Ohio St. Because initial offense incident reports are public records, a narrative attached to an incident report must be disclosed without redaction even though it contains the name of an uncharged suspect. Maurer , 91 Ohio St. Ohio Dep't of Pub. The court noted that it had ruled a decade earlier that an incident report could be redacted to delete personal information about a child rape victim.
Beacon Jrnl Pub.
City of Akron , Ohio St. In the Cincinnati Enquirer case decided in , the court declined to rule that all video and audio recordings from police squad car dash-cameras are per se outside the exemption for specific investigatory work product. In that case, the court ruled that some of the recording documented specific investigatory work produce, and some did not. The court ruled that the exemption applied to the part of the recording where police questioned a suspect after advising him of his Miranda rights. The exemption for specific investigatory work-product ceases to apply to investigatory records once the trial for which the records were generated is over.
Information that would endanger the life or physical safety of at least one of these kinds of peopl e:. The proponent of this exemption must show that "disclosure of the records will really pose a risk. Lippitt v. Kovacic , 70 Ohio App. Apart from the exemption, the Ohio Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, whose jurisdiction includes Ohio, have interpreted the 14 th Amendment to the United States Constitution as barring the release of records to protect law enforcement officers from potential threats to their safety.
If release of the records would place a law enforcement officer at substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, a public office cannot release the records even if the Public Records Act would require a public office to release it. Keller v. Cox , 85 Ohio St. City of Columbus , F. Ohio same police officers had no constitutional privacy interest where much of the information claimed to be constitutionally-protected was already in the public domain.
Records the release of which is prohibited by state law. The Ohio Revise Code contains hundreds of separate provisions excluding classes of records as "public records. It is possible that a protective order, issued by a judge, may qualify a confidential settlement for the state law exemption, thus maintaining the secrecy of the settlement terms. Records the release of which is prohibited by federal law. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the federal Copyright Act barred a county engineer from releasing digital copies of public records where the county would also have to release a copy of copyright-protected software to make the records readable.go site
Occupational Liberty Interest Claims Under Due Process Clause
Opperman, Ohio St. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Ohio Supreme Court have interpreted the federal constitutional right of privacy as barring release of public records if the release poses a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, specifically to law enforcement officers, but the principle could apply to anyone. Kallstrom v. City of Columbus, F. The Ohio Supreme Court also has applied the 14 th Amendment right to informational privacy to social security numbers of public employees because releasing the social security numbers posed a threat that someone might use them for identity theft.
City of Akron , 70 Ohio St. The Ohio Revised Code contains more than separate statutory provisions addressing public records. Many of them make specific kinds of records exempt from the mandatory public access requirements of the public records statute. Many of those exemptions are listed below. Citizen reward programs. Private organizations receiving public funds and named as official county programs to reward citizens who provide tips leading to the solving of crimes.
Records of the ownership, registration, transfer, and exchange of securities are not public records, nor are the records of the financial institution or person who issued the securities.
Information obtained by the division of securities is not available except to those having a direct economic interest in the information. Cincinnati Enquirer, Div. Network Inc. Joyce , 97 Ohio St. Ohio ethics commission complaints, investigations. All papers relating the proceedings of the Ohio ethics commission are private and confidential, except where the accused person also requests that the evidence and record of a hearing before the commission be made public. Information and material furnished to or procured by the superintendent of BCI concerning persons convicted of crimes, and known and habitual criminals.
Information acquired by the superintendent as part of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway which is a data processing system for the storage and retrieval of information, data, and statistics regarding criminals.
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