Alaska sunshine lawsuits

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Deliberative Process Exemption

Here is a list of major FOIA court decisions and their effect on the Alaska Public Records Act.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon below the Year heading)

" Year Precedent
Anchorage School District v. Anchorage Daily News 1989 Any confidentiality clause within a settlement of which the state is a party is unenforceable because it violates the Alaska Public Records Act.
Brady v. State of Alaska 1998
Capital Information Group v. Office of the Governor 1996 This case estblished that actions on the part of the legislature could factor into the balancing test to determine if the public interest overrules the executive deliberative process privilege.
City of Kenai v. Kenai Peninsula Newspapers 1982 1.) The Alaska Public Records Act was designed to apply to municipalities as well as state institutions.

2.) When considering whether to grant an exemption, the courts must always weight the public benefit of disclosure against the justification and benefit to the city or individuals from non-disclosure.

Doe v. Superior Court 1986 1.) This case established the deliberative process exemption and executive privilege as implicit in the Alaskan constitution based on the separation of powers.

2.) This case also established that by exercising one's right to petition the government, an individual forgoes any right to privacy with regard to that position.

Fuller v. City of Homer 2003 This case established that the deliberative process exemption could apply to municipalities, given that the municipalities in question met all the criteria for the exemption.
Gwich'in Steering Committee v. Office of the Governor 2000 This case altered the justification of the deliberative process exemption established by Doe v. Superior Court. This court instead determined that the exemption was designed to protect the give and take of the deliberative process. The court also established two criteria for the deliberative process exemption, namely:

1.) That the materials be predecisional.
2.) That the materials represent the deliberative process and include a give and take of opinions and recommendations.

Municipality of Anchorage v. Anchorage Daily News 1990 1.) This case established that bodies which are supported by public funds and created to serve a governmental function are in fact arms of the agencies which they serve and are subject to records requests.

2.) This case also established that public agencies may only take deposition from individuals requesting public records in order to determine the public interest in the record if the agency has already proven that the record in question is exempt from the law.

To read more about Alaska case law or research other important decisions in Alaskan judicial history see: The Alaska Case Law Service