SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS PROTECT RECORDS THAT OTHERWISE WOULD BE OPEN

<< All News

April 4, 2019


Request:  Did the ND Forensic Examiner’s Office and the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences violate the open records law by failing to provide requested records?

Conclusion: The Bismarck Tribune made two record requests, one to the ND Forensic Examiner’s Office and one to the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, for copies of two different Reports of Death based on autopsies performed by the respective departments. Each department, after contacting the appropriate investigating agencies, denied the requests, citing active criminal investigations. Generally, a report of death becomes a public record eight days after it is issued. However, active criminal intelligence and investigative information is a specific exception to the open records laws and applies to records otherwise considered open, such as a report of death. Therefore, the ND Forensic Examiner’s Office and the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences did not violate the open records law by refusing to disclose the reports of death while the cases are still active.

Opinion 2019-O-01

<< All News