Court Records Not Open Records

by Tony McVeigh on May 2, 2011

Update: The Attorney General’s decision is unlikely to affect the openness of court records.

The Kentucky attorney general’s office says court records are not subject to the state’s Open Records Act.

A Paducah case is at the heart of the opinion. Anton Thomas sought any and all records, statements and documents pertaining to a September 2009 McCracken County District Court hearing.

He was provided a copy of the hearing by the district court clerk, but when denied further documentation, Thomas appealed under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

But an attorney general’s opinion says documents in the custody of district and circuit court clerks are properly characterized as court records, and not subject to the Open Records Act.

The opinion says “disputes relating to access to court records, must be resolved by the courts.”  Any party aggrieved by the opinion may appeal to circuit court.

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