Lindsey Waltraut

Made request for records under 6257(f) as the “authorized representative” of a victim and police are claiming disclosure would “endanger successful completion” of six-month-old investigation. No objection regarding standing or anything else, just the investigation exemption. They refuse to articulate how disclosure would endanger. Can’t find any case law on this exemption.

First Amendment Coalition

Unfortunately, law enforcement would likely be given a fair bit of discretion in taking the position that releasing records under 6254(f) “would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation or…the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.” Gov. Code § 6254(f).

If it is factually implausible that the investigation has not yet been completed or that disclosure of records would compromise the investigation, it might be worth pushing back by pointing out the reasons that is true. Depending on the nature of the records that exist and the status of any investigation, there might also be some records that could be released even if law enforcement has a plausible basis for withholding others.

This answer was provided by the First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to defending free speech and the public’s right to know, through its Asked & Answered database, which contains responses prepared by FAC’s attorneys at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP. In responding to these inquiries, BCLP gives general information but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response. Have a question not answered here? Contact FAC’s free legal hotline.

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