Additional request for documents relating to the 1993 murder of 4 yr old Alicia K. Ruff

James Benish filed this request with the Kauai Police Department of Kauai County, HI.
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: James Benish

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Hawaii's Uniform Information Practices Code, I hereby request the following records:

Additional documents re: Case # T-11828-A Date: 07/28/1993. Victim Alicia K. Ruff

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

James Benish

From: James Benish

REQUEST TO ACCESS A GOVERNMENT RECORD

DATE: _01/21/2015___________________________

TO: Kauai Police Department via: County of Kauai Public Information Office
Attention: Mary Daubert at: mdaubert@kauai.gov.___
____________________________________________________________________________

FROM: Codefore Publishing____________________________________________________________________________
Name or Alias
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Contact Information
JD@Codefore.com__ (Jim Benish.) ______________________________________________________________________________

I WOULD LIKE THE FOLLOWING GOVERNMENT RECORD:
KPD Report Number T-11828
This request is made as a follow up to the initial request dated 09-07-2014 at the direction of Ms. Sara Blain who advised this second request for information it is necessary to re-request information
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.
Thank, you in advance for your anticipated co-operation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.
I respectfully request that fees for this request be waived for the following reasons.

1. The information is in the best interest of the public. It relates to a convicted felon who may have been charged erroneously as another person has confessed to a portion of the crime that was committed.
2. The information is necessary to complete a journalistic review of the homicide investigation and the conduct of the Police Department and the Prosecutors office.
Additional pre-request Information.
Please be advised that I have identified the names of the following people involved in this incident and this identification was made over 2 years ago. Also be advised that some of their names have been included in numerous journalistic publishings as well as a published book, all references to these people were written about their involvement in this incident except Timmy and Tracey Woolsey. The Woolsey’s were contacted or contacted me individually and volunteered their statements as well as authority to release their names and access their statements from this report. That being said, there should be no reason to redact their names from the report in the interest of privacy.
All of these individuals are as follows: Aaron Schonlau, Todd Schonlau, Timmy Woolsey, Tracey Woolsey, and of course Lacy Ruff.
I also request that all redactions reference to Todd Schonlau not be redacted because there is a possibility that he was involved in this crime. An informant claims that Todd Schonlau confessed to being involved in this crime.
I would like the following documents that are in addition to the previous request.
1. Please provide KDP form 364 signed by Mr. Aaron Schonlau.
2. Please provide all supplemental reports made by police personnel.
3. Please provide the report that describes the recovery of the body of Lacey Ruff
4. Please provide all reports written and submitted by all investigative officers and detectives.
5. Please provide any and all supplement reports that relate to the identification of Aaron Schonlau by officer #124
6. Please provide any and all follow up to the report dated 7-28-1993 and submitted by officer #90 who refers to the sighting and description of a male seen walking along the beach and indicates he may have seen this individual prior.
7. Please provide all Evidence booking sheets.
8. Please provide the names of the persons who are performing the redaction, their division and their title.
9. Please provide the names of persons who approve(d) the redactions and their titles to include any and all attorneys who either review or approve redaction.
10. Please provide any and all reports filed by the dispatcher(s) who were involved in accepting the initial report of a missing person.
11. Please provide the dispatch log page that documents the times of the initial incident to include the phone call from Mr Todd Schonlau to the Police Department..
12. Any report that relates to the contact of Todd Schonlau, what statements were made and what Mr. Schonlau was wearing. (di-regard if this information is included in the reports provided in response to question #4)
13. Police report by officer #124. (please provide the missing page 3)
Additional requests
These requests are not an appeal of redaction. I simply want to know for what reason (as described in the Hawaii Freedom of Information Act.) the redactions were made. These questions are as follows;
1. The first page of the Police Report case #T-11828-A
Why is the information on Aaron Shonlau redacted?
Why are the reasons for arrest redacted?
2. The first page of the missing person report case# T-11828
Why is the physical description of Lacy Ruff redacted?
Why is the name of Lacey Ruff redacted?
Why is the birth date and race of the victim redacted?
3. The first page of the “All Points Bulletin”
Why is the physical description, specifically the clothing, of the missing person redacted
Why is the redaction in the Synopsis?
4. On the Missing Person continuation report by officer #90.
Why are the last four lines redacted?
5. On page 2 of the report submitted by Lt. Paul Hurley.
Why are the four paragraphs redacted?
Why is the last paragraph redacted?
6. In reference to the transcribed interview with Aaron Schonlau. Why are the following items redacted? Some of these redactions include the interviewers questions? Why?
Page 1
Page 4
Page 5
Page 9
Page 10 (interviewers question)
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19

I WOULD LIKE: (please check one or more of the options below)

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xx A copy of the government record: (Please check one of the options below.) See the back of this page for information about fees that you may be required to pay for agency services to process your record request. Note: Copying and transmission charges may also apply to certain options.

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xx Electronic 0 Audio 0 Other (please specify):_____________________

xx Check this box if you are attaching a request for waiver of fees in the public interest
(see waiver information on back).

SEE BACK FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FEES FOR PROCESSING RECORD REQUESTS

You may be charged fees for the services that the agency must perform when processing your record request, including fees for making photocopies and other lawful fees. The first $30 of fees charged for searching for a record, reviewing, and segregating will not be charged to you. Any amount over $30 will be charged to you. Fees are as follows:

Search for a Record $2.50 for 15 minutes
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(1) The requested record pertains to the operations or activities of an agency;
(2) The record is not readily available in the public domain; and
(3) The requester has the primary intention and the actual ability to widely disseminate information from the government record to the public at large.

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REQUESTER'S RESPONSIBILITIES

You have certain responsibilities under §2-71-16, Hawaii Administrative Rules. You may obtain a copy of these rules from the Lieutenant Governor's Office or from the Office of Information Practices. These responsibilities include making arrangements to inspect and copy records, providing further clarification or description of the requested record as instructed by the agency's notice, and making a prepayment of fees, if assessed.

From: Mary Daubert

Aloha James,
Sarah Blane has already begun to process your request and will see it through to completion.

Sincerely,
Mary

From: James Benish

Thank you Mary. I did not , however, receive a telephone call.

From: Sarah Blane

Jim,

You are welcome to call me today. My number is (808) 241-4914. My office hours are 7:45-4:30 HST. I have a voicemail set up in case I'm not in, you may leave a message.
Sent from my iPhone

From: James Benish

Sara, it has been about two weeks. Is there progress being made?

From: James Benish

Sara, it has now been almost a month. Please advise on the status.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 22, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Sarah Blane

Jim,

I sent you an email two weeks back with no response. Let me look for it and I will re-send
Sent from my iPhone

From: James Benish

OK, thank you. I dont recall getting your email. You can send it direct to codefore@aol.com or jd@codefore.com

From: James Benish

checked both of my email sources. The last email I received from you was January 22nd.

From: Sarah Blane

I re-sent it shortly after this email exchange, so Im not sure what to tell you. I will look again when I'm in office.
Sent from my iPhone

From: James Benish

What is the email address your using? Ill do a search on it. Can you just respond on this site? I just want to know when you think the remaining information might be completed.

From: James Benish

Ill call you later today if its ok.

From: James Benish

sblane@kauai.gov,
jyukimura@kauai.gov, mdaubert@kauai.gov,

Sara,
Thank you for the response . Is there a Police Department name you would like to share the responsibility for this decision with? Or should I assume the responsibility for the decision to not provide any more information comes from the Chief of Police? In the event no other persons name is given, you are the only person that I can assume is responsible for not providing any further information. . A political entity in itself cannot be held responsible for anything. This cannot end with the statement that the "Police Department" as if it were a person, made this decision.
However Sara, I really doubt that you know why there is reluctance to reveal the names of those responsible for the redactions , and the requested information, Albeit I do know why and it may become a serious situation for all who are a part of this decision to withhold information because there also may be a forthcoming allegation of Police malfeasance and criminal acts that could be further substantiated by these same records that access is being denied. This refusal of information brings the acts that were committed in 1993 to present. Does it not? As you can see by the Cc:, those who should know about this, do know now. These emails are being added to the Muckrock file.

From: Sarah Blane
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2015 8:51 AM
To: requests@muckrock.com
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request: 1993 Murder Case file of Lacy Wolsey Ruff

Aloha Jim,

It is the Kaua‘i Police Department’s belief that we have provided you with all requested documents from the police report concerning the murder of Lacey Ruff that is considered public record. The justification for redacting particular statements or information contained in those documents has already been provided to you on numerous occasions.

Should you feel documents or information from the police report was withheld in error, you may submit an appeal to the State of Hawai‘i Office on Information Practices.

Thank you,

Sarah

On Jan. 19, 2015:
After further evaluation of the reports I make an additional request for witness statements, specifically statements made by Todd Schonlau , Timmy Woolsey (the maternal father of the victim), and Tracey Woolsey ( the maternal mother of the victim) for the following reasons.
Per: the Hawaii Freedom of Information act. Todd Schonlau does not have reasonable expectation of privacy in matters of this case. His expectation of privacy has diminished because in 1993 he provided this journalist (then a police detective) with a verbal (transcribed ) statement of his activities involving the murder of Lacey Ruff. This statement was recently provided to Mr. John Burgess of the Kauai Prosecutors office. Additionally Todd Schonlau's expectation of privacy has diminished because he may have been culpable in the murder of Tracey Ruff (HFIA pg 14- "possible violation of a criminal act) and in addition this culpability was made public on February 11, 2013 via a blog pos t on Codeforeblog.com/?p=1307, titled "Woman says her boyfriend confessed to killing a 4 year old girl".
In addition, the redaction of the items in the coroner's report is not applicable because according to the HFOI (pg 15)deceased persons do not have the expectation of privacy .
I specifically request the statements of Timmy and Tracey Woolsey for the following reasons. (written authorizations signed by Mr. and Mrs. Woolsey will be forwarded to your office once you acknowledge that their statements will be provided upon receipt of these authorizations.
In addition I request the documents provided to me that were redacted because of their reference to Timmy and Tracy Woolsey, and Todd Schonlau be provided a second time without these reactions.
I request the arrest booking paperwork for Aaron Schonlau and any and all other reports that describe Aaron Schonlaus and his brother Todds clothing when contacted at or near the scene of the crime.
I also request that statements of witnesses, other than Todd Scholnau, Timmy and Tracey Woolsey be provided or an explanation as to why (specifically the witness who saw an individual carrying what looked like a body) and and other witness.
Thankyou.
---
On Jan. 14, 2015:
Hi Jim,
I will be happy to work on this request when I return to the next Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Will be in touch.

On Jan. 14, 2015:
Hi Jim,
The Kaua‘i Police Department spent many hours providing you with all publicly available information on this case. That included continuous communication with both you and the state Office of Information Practices (OIP). In fact, the determination to withhold witness statements of the individuals you specifically requested was based on guidance provided by the OIP directly.
Furthermore, as I stated at the onset of your request – the Kaua‘i Police Department and the courts are held to different standards when it comes to protecting an individual’s privacy rights. If a case goes to trial, all of the statements and documents provided during that trial will become public record through the courts. Again, while we are not affiliated with the courts – nor do we have access to their records database - it is my assumption that because this case involves a conviction, that most of the information you requested would have been discussed at trial.
It would behoove you to request the documents you are seeking from the Hawai‘i Judiciary.
Sarah
---
On Jan. 14, 2015:
Hello, The documents have been received. I am discouraged by the amount of missing material. I know additional information that has already appeared in the new media. (no names of course ) I fail to agree with your assumption that just because I read a witness statement Ill know who it is , unless you are talking about Mr. Todd Schonalau. I interviewed Mr. Schonlau myself in 1993 and recently provided this interview statement to the Kauai
DA's investigators and did not blank out his name to protect the guilty. I simply want to know if Schonlau's statements differ. I also know that there was a witnesses who lives in the area and have been contacted after all these years by even more witnesses. I'm getting the idea that your refusal to provide documents that are over 20 years old are significant overkill. Is the public going to read that police information that was public in 1993 is not public now? I may want to appeal your decision to not include a ll the documents in this request for information. Ill decide later.
Thank you.

From: Sarah Blane

As previously stated, you are free to submit an appeal to the State of Hawai‘i Office of Information Practices.

Mahalo,
Sarah

From: James Benish

RE: Freedom of Information Request: 1993 Murder Case file of Lacy Wolsey Ruff
Sarah Blane to you + 2 more
Jim,
The process by which government records are considered public or private are strictly guided by the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“UIPA”). Hawaii’s public records law is intended to open up governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation by requiring government business to be conducted as transparently as possible, while balancing personal privacy rights guaranteed under the Hawai`i State Constitution. (www.oip.hawaii.gov)
Should you feel that the records you requested were mistakenly withheld, the correct agency to submit an appeal would be the Office of Information Practices.
Finally, if you refer back to your Muckrock files, you will note that from the very start of our conversations several months ago – both over the phone and in email – I strongly encouraged you to seek the documents you are requesting from the state courts, as the trial to which you are referring resulted in a conviction. As such, ALL documents presented to the court would be public record. I am confident the OIP will make the same suggestion. (I even went as far as looking up the case for you in online records, and giving you the appropriate agency to address your request.)

This will be my final communication with you on this subject matter until/unless you have a new records request for the department to process – or the OIP makes a determination on your appeal of the existing request.
Thank you,
Sarah

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