Tag Archive for FOIA

SB 552: the Dawn of Virginia’s Secret Police

We’ve been hearing a lot about criminal justice reform, a movement with support from both republicans and democrats who acknowledge the myriad problems with the huge numbers of people we spend to jail and prison each year, why we send them there, and how we send them there. However, this is a movement that has apparently not reached Virginia, a state whose legislative body seems to be intent on doubling down on costly (in financial and human terms), ineffective, and harmful “tough on crime” bills that undercut government accountability and transparency and attack our civil liberties.

One of the worst examples of this is Senate Bill 552, which aims to exempt the “names, positions, job classifications, and other identifying personal information” from being released under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. This bill has already been approved by the Virginia Senate, and if the Virginia House of Delegates passes it, it’s likely Governor McAuliffe will happily sign it into law, based on his previous actions regarding law enforcement and release of information.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that this “Secret Police” law would be the first of its kind in the nation. What an ignoble distinction for a state that so proudly refers to itself as a commonwealth, “a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people,” and boasts “Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants)” for a state motto.
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Pro Se litigant sues and Beats Virginia Sheriff on FOIA Violation

FROM THE FULL COURT PRESS – In early 2014, The Frederick County Sheriff, Robert T. Williamson was sued in Frederick County General District Court for failing to respond to a simple FOIA request.

The Plaintiff, Rand Cadmus,  had been attempting to extract information out of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Dept for (4) months.  Email after email back and forth until the Frederick County Sheriff’s Doug Lang ended with “We will not repond to your emails[sic]).

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Stafford County, VA – Courthouse Corruption

Posted from THE FULL COURT PRESS

The Full Court Press(“TFCP”) went to Stafford County Circuit Court on June 23,2014 to sit in on a pivotal Pro-Se FOIA lawsuit commenced by  Herbert Lux.  Herb, is an experienced self litigator and has several Appellate Court reversals under his belt.  At 65, Lux is the quentisential Godfather of all  Virginia Pro-se activists who assert their rights in the State  and Federal courts.

           In this case, Lux had issued subpoenas to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s staff in Stafford County for the purpose of proving that the Commonwealth Attorney was willfully hiding information and conspiring

…..See the rest of the Article

FOIA Request (Freedom of Information Act Request) Example/ Template

The following document is an example and can be used as a TEMPLATE for FOIA Requests (Freedom of Information Act Requests). Each individuals scenario will be different, so feel free to use whatever is applicable to your needs. (“John Doe” in this example is the requester) This is an example of someone who’s facing criminal litigation (as small as a traffic ticket) who’s requesting written and “Electronically Stored” information (To be held and not damaged, destroyed or deleted, etc) in relation to his/ her incident.

Electronically Stored Information Hold/Litigation Hold and FOIA Request

Dear Police Chief Jane Doe (or to whomever ever handles FOIA requests at the PD you’re making the inquiry with),

I, John Doe, in connection with _____________________ involving Officer Unpleasant. On
May 1, 2010, I was ______________ (cited, stopped, detained, arrested, witnessed, etc.) by Officer Unpleasant who issued a summons against me for obstruction under 18.2-460, which he retracted before issuing a summons for disorderly conduct under 18.2-415. The charge was dismissed in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond.

FOIA Request

Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I demand that you submit the following information/documents to me:

1. Any and all videotape from every onboard camera of every police vehicle which pursued I, John Doe corresponded to any incident involving Cox on May 1, 2010.

2. Any and all audio tapes, audio tracks, audio recordings, or transcripts of all police radio traffic taken on May 1, 2010 related to Officer Unpleasant and I, John Doe, including but not limited to all radio traffic from the time Officer Unpleasant pursued I, John Doe until I was released and all communication related to I, John Doe ended (hereinafter referred to as the “Doe incident”).

3. Any and all police dispatch logs related to the Doe incident (May 1, 2010).

4. A copy of the original summons for obstruction under 18.2-460.

5. Any and all police notices or advisories related to John Doe held by the Virginia State Police.

6. Records specifically concerning Officer Unpleasant kept pursuant to Va. Code § 15.2-1722,
including without limitation any personnel records, any documents collected, created, or
maintained in connection with complaints or concerns raised about Officer Unpleasant’s behavior or conduct, and any documents collected, created, or maintained in connection with any investigations into Officer Unpleasant’s behavior or conduct.

7. The number of records responsive to each of the above requests that are being withheld, and
the specific basis for each such records being withheld. Read more