ACLU alleges Maricopa County Attorney illegally withholds public records

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery/Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

By Dillon Rosenblatt | Arizona Capitol Times 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona is suing Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, alleging he has failed to fulfill an abundance of public records requests for a freelance journalist who received just one document over a seven month period.

Sean Holstege filed a public records request, on behalf of the ACLU of Arizona, into the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in October 2018 regarding “basic information about how that office functions, including policies, budgets, and data on individual criminal cases,” the lawsuit says.

Holstege – a former staff writer with The Arizona Republic and freelance writer for Phoenix New Times – only received one document, with little to no substantive responses from Montgomery’s Office after several follow-ups, it says in the suit.

State law requires the government to “promptly” disclose records, but the ACLU of Arizona is suggesting that one document over seven months does not meet that standard. The one record Holstege received was a staff roster for a single year within the date range requested, according to the lawsuit.

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