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Small Calif publisher wins in public records case

Posted: July 17, 2013 5:36 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2013 5:36 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A state Court of Appeal has ruled that a small-town California newspaper publisher does not have to pay legal fees to a school board he sued over a public records request.

First Amendment experts say a loss could have chilled the public and journalists from challenging a government agency's decision to withhold documents under California's Public Records Act.

The case came out of Glenn County, where the publisher of the Sacramento Valley Mirror believed the Willows Unified School District was using school material to influence a political campaign.

He sued to get emails and a judge ruled the case frivolous. He was assessed $56,000 in legal fees.

The decision was hailed as a victory for government transparency.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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