Missing Case Files

Bradley A. Golson filed this request with the Office of the Governor of Alabama .
Status
Awaiting Acknowledgement

Communications

From: Bradley A. Golson


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Alabama Public Records , I hereby request the following records:

This request refers to two unsolved murder cases in Morgan County, Alabama. Mary Faye Hunter (1967) and Thelma Joyce Sanders Drake (1970). I have been told by a former Alabama state investigator that the case files and evidence in both cases have been lost or destroyed. I contacted the ALEA and the Alabama Attorney General's office to request a redacted copy of the case files. The Assistant District Attorney, Tim McCollum, sent me a standardized reply stating that they did not want to release the files because it might interfere with solving the cases. He would not confirm if the files still existed nor would he send me a redacted copy. As you know, a redacted copy blacks out anything that might keep the case from being solved. If theses files still exist, I see no reason why a redacted copy cannot be granted. It is my belief that the files are missing or have been destroyed and that the ALEA does not want to admit that fact nor do they want to be held accountable for their errors. Instead they are taking advantage of the Code of Alabama 12-21-3.1 law that states:

"Law enforcement investigative reports and related investigative material are not public records. Law enforcement investigative reports, records, field notes, witness statements, and other investigative writings or recordings are privileged communications protected from disclosure."

Allowing the ALEA to use this law to cover up their errors is setting a dangerous precedent. In what other situations have they used this law in the past to protect themselves from accountability?

Mary Faye Hunter was my cousin. I spent two years investigating her case without the benefit of the original case files. My information had to come from former law enforcement, relying mostly on their memory. In the end, I have found a lot of information that points toward one individual being responsible for Mary Faye's murder. It would be beneficial to me to compare my information to any case facts or evidence. I understand it is an open case, but I am the only person who is currently trying to solve it. There is no cold case unit in Morgan County. If cases like Mary Faye Hunter are ever going to be solved, it's going to take people like me who is actively pursuing leads. I feel like Mary Faye's case is solved and I am close to solving the Thelma Joyce Sanders Drake case.

I implore you to require that the ALEA provide a redacted copy of these case files. I don't think they can, but they need to prove that these files do exist. If they don't, the two cases have already been compromised and there is no reason why I should not be able to request their autopsy reports. Scott Anderson, district attorney in Morgan County, has already denied a request for Mary Faye's autopsy report and I'm sure he would do the same for the Drake's autopsy report. I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days.

Sincerely,

Bradley A. Golson

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