Hill v. Mamoulides was a case before the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in 1986 concerning the records of criminal investigations.
This case established that failure to respond to records requests within the time limits established by the Louisiana Public Records Act did not result in a forfeit of the right to claim exemption from records requests.
- Hill, a journalist, requested a number of documents from Mamoulides, the District Attorney of Jefferson Parish concerning the criminal investigation of two individuals.
- Mamoulides provided the dispositions generated by his office, refusing the charges but claimed that the police investigation was not generated by his office and was thus not part of their public records.
- In response, Hill submitted a request to Captain Day of the Louisiana State Police who claimed that the documents in question were exempt in order to protect a confidential source who provided the majority of information in the investigation. Day, however, did release any documents which did not relate to the informant.
- Hill filed suit and the trial court ruled in favor of the Police department.
- Hill appealed the decision arguing that the documents were not exempt and that the failure of the public agencies to respond to his request within the designated three day time limit eliminated their opportunity to claim exemption.
Ruling of the court
The trial court ruled in favor of the police department, agreeing after a number of testimonies from investigators and an in camera review of the documents that they would in fact reveal the identity of an informant.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, ordering the documents exempt.
The Court of Appeals determined that the documents in question did classify as exempt documents under the exemption for police informants, thus affirming the decision of the trial court. The court further found no statutory evidence for Hill's contention that the agencies waved their right to exemption by failing to respond to within three days. The court determined that the only remedies for this failure was to obtain a writ which compelled the release of the documents and fines and penalties for intentionally denying access to records. Thus, the court affirmed the decision of the trial court in its entirety and ruled the documents exempt from requests.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ruling of the Court