We the People, State of Washington
FROM, AND RESPOND TO:
Email or other contact info (knowing it will be public)
Email or other contact info (knowing it will be public)
No.: (4-10-01-01) Example- Use the Date and your own sequence of numbers (how many requests you have made)
[date] [request number]
NOTICE OF LAW AND CAVEAT RE:
REQUESTS FOR ACCESS TO
[Policies - Procedures - Indexes - Notice of Law]
Date: Insert Date of Request
I. INTRODUCTION AND LIST OF CONTENTS
1.1 This is a notice regarding requests for copies of or for access to public
records. Requests for access to public records referencing this document are made in
accordance with one or more of the following laws:
(1) The State of Washingtonâ€™s Public Disclosure Act, also known as the
Washington State Freedom of Information Act and by similar names [hereinafter
"PDA"], the laws of which are referenced in chapter 42.17 RCW;
(2) The Washington Criminal Records Act [hereinafter "CRA"], the laws
which are referenced in chapter 10.97 RCW;
(3) The Peopleâ€™s common law right to access public records, which are
reflected in ARLJ 9 of the administrative rules for courts of limited
jurisdictions of the State of Washington.
1.2 In addition to the foregoing and in event this agency would, otherwise, be
inclined to not respond to a request [based on that it functions as an instrumentality of the
United States and is not subject to the PDA (e.g., it has or operates under a federal tax
identification number)], requests should be treated as having been made pursuant to one
or both of the following federal laws:
REQUEST FOR ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION â€“
(1) The Federal Freedom of Information Act [hereinafter "FOIA"], 5 USC
552, which the Washington courts frequently look to, for guidance in interpreting
the PDA; and/or
(2) The Privacy Act [hereinafter "PA"], which pertains to records
maintained on individuals.
1.3 In addition to this section, this request contains the following five (5)
“II. DEFINITIONS AFFECTING THIS REQUEST“;
“III. BACKGROUND AND BASIS FOR THESE REQUESTS“;
“IV CAVEATS AND NOTICES“;
“V. DIRECTIONS FOR RESPONSE“;
“VI. LAWS CONTROLLING REQUEST RESPONSES“; and,
1.4 This writing references or cites laws, codes, policies, and rules that affect or effect
this agency’s operations with regard to public records and requests for them; therefore, this agency may find it expedient to review this document, in its entirety, prior to responding to it or any subsequent or future requests. Other laws may also apply, so this agency may wish to consult legal counsel before denying or delaying access to requested records.
In addition to any duty agents have to inform themselves of the law, the matter of which is elsewhere addressed herein, and for purposes of claims, complaints or other legal matters, an agency’s receipt of this document may be considered notice……Therefore, this agency may find it expedient review this entire document, prior to responding to it or any subsequent or future requests. Other laws may also apply, so this agency may wish to consult legal counsel before denying or delaying access to requested records.
II. DEFINITIONS AFFECTING REQUESTS
2.0 For purposes of this and all subsequent or associated requests, the definitions provided below are applicable:
2.1 “Communication” means telephonic conversations, radio transmissions,
oral conversation other than telephonic conversations, or radio transmissions, and writings, including but not limited to computer, email, website documentation between this person, entity, corporation, state, STATE, United States of America, UNITED STATES of AMERICA, nation, international, municipalities, persons real or artificial, counties, subdivision, jurisdictions, districts, subdivisions, foreign and domestic .
2.2 “Copy” or “copies,” when used in a request, shall mean a true, certain and
correct copy of the original.
2.3 The terms “writing,” “document,” â€œrecordâ€ â€œinformationâ€ or “correspondence,” wherever used herein, shall be treated as synonymous with each other. This shall mean the original and any copy, regardless of origin or location, of any written or recorded materialâ€: Writing also is defined as meaning: Writing also is defined as meaning: handwriting, typewriting, printing, photo-statting, photographing, scanning, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation or otherwise. Including, but not limited to, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, video tape, audio tape, DVD or other emerging recording technology, photostat, microfilm, contract, Memorandum of Understanding, Inter-local Agreement, Multi-Agency Contract (MAC), mission statements, scopes, organizational structure(s), policies, concept of organization, time lines or phases, definitions used by the agency, glossaries held by or used by the agency, terminology used by the agency, Mutual Aide Agreements, Memorandum of Cooperation, work sheets and plans, logistics, legal audits, liaisons, resources including scientific, private industry studies that the agency will receive or has awarded a contract for, pilot projects that the agency has been involved with, organizations that the agency has affiliation with, computer disk, computer tape, or any other reproduction thereof. The foregoing shall include, without limitation, accounts, air line or bus line or rail travel stubs, affidavits, , analysis, appointments, articles, awards, bank statements, billings, bond coupons, booklets, books, charts, checks, certificates, certifications, circulars, codes, communications, complaints, contracts, correspondences, declarations, deposit slips, drafts, drawings, files, filings made with the Public Disclosure Commission, forms, handbooks, internet web pages, ledgers, letters, logs, manuals, memorandums, monthly securities or commodities statements, notes, oaths, pamphlets, periodicals, policies, procedure(s), purchase or sale confirmations, receipts, releases, reports, requests for access to public records and responses to them, statutes, stock certificates, summaries, transcripts, surety bonds, telegrams, vouchers, warrants, and warranties in this agencyâ€™s care or under its control, including discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated. Refer to RCW 42.17.020(42), e-mail and inter-office memorandum, notes, papers, photos, and electronic records, and warranties in this agencyâ€™s care or under its control
(1 The Washington Association of County Officials [WACO], the Washington State
Association of Counties [WSAC] and similar associations are considered quasi-public agencies and
subject to the PDA. Telford v Thurston County Board of Commissioners, 95 Wash.App. 149, 974 P.2d 886
(Wash. App. Div.2 April 1999). Reference also Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Association, No. 99-901
(Feb. 20, 2001))
2.4 Wherever used herein, “include,” “includes,â€ and “including” mean “in
addition to” and shall not be construed as limiting the scope of a response or allowing
exclusion of any information.
2.5 Wherever used herein, the singular shall be deemed to include the plural,
feminine terms shall be deemed to include the masculine, the disjunctive (“or”) shall be
deeded to include the conjunctive (“and”) and the conjunctive (“and”) shall be deemed to
include the disjunctive (“or”) and each of the functional words “each,” “every,”‘ “any,” and “all” shall be deemed to include the other functional words.
2.6 For these purposes the term “agency” shall be given its common legal
meaning and shall be interpreted to include both principal(s) of an agency and the
agent(s) thereof, regardless of how designated (e.g., administrator, clerk, commissioner,
deputy sheriff, deputy clerk, deputy prosecutor, employee, judge, prosecutor, secretary,
sheriff, etc.). It shall be interpreted to include, in its meaning, quasi government agencies such as port districts and school districts, as well as the meanings set out in RCW 42.17.020
2.7 The term “request,” wherever used herein or in relation hereto, shall mean
a request for access to public records, regardless of whether made under a local, state
or federal law and whether made orally or in writing.
2.8 The term â€œlaw,â€ whenever used herein or in relation hereto, shall be
deemed to include in its meaning: law, statute, code, policy, procedure and rule, whether
unpublished or published.
2.9 The term “index,” wherever used herein or in relation hereto shall, in
addition to the definitions given under RCW 42.17.260 et seq., include lists and other
items available from or kept by this agency that name or otherwise identify documents and things kept by or available from this agency; print outs or copies of folders and directories viewable in computer file managers (e.g., Firefox, Windows Explorer, WordPerfect and Microsoft Word, etcâ€¦); and, tables of contents from books, booklets, brochures, fliers, handbooks, pamphlets and manuals).
2.10 The term “procedure,” whenever used in a request herein or associated
herewith, shall be deemed to include in its meaning manuals, booklets, handbooks, fliers,
and other publications or correspondences (e.g., memorandums, issues) that this agency
maintains for direction or guidance regarding its day to day operation or conduct of
III. BACKGROUND AND BASIS FOR REQUESTS
3.0 Requests referencing or affected by this document should be treated as
(1) The reasonable exercise of a right;
(2) An act in good faith done for those purposes set out herein, or
explained in subsequent requests;
(3) An attempt to become informed on the laws affecting the requestor(s);
(4) An attempt to obtain information of general interest to the public;
(5) An attempt to monitor this agency in accordance with the laws
referenced in RCW 42.17.251.
(6) An attempt to obtain information for purposes of media.
3.1 Requests referencing this document may, among other things, seek records
by which the requester(s) may determine:
(1) If this agencyâ€™s agents have complied with all the laws associated with
holding a public position or office, including the taking of oaths mandated by both
state and federal constitutions, the filing of disclosures of their campaign activities
and business dealings, the acquisition of performance bonds required prior to
sitting in a public office.
(2) If individuals filling the positions of clerk, prosecutor and sheriff’s
deputy, or court commissioners and other individuals, were properly appointed, or
reappointed to their positions;
(3) The laws this agency relies upon, and if those laws were properly enacted (e.g., proofs of public notice, meeting minutes, display and accessibility of the enacted law and, if applicable, indexing or personal notice of laws and public records);
(4) If this agency’s interpretations of law are accurate and reasonable.
(5) What [good faith] efforts this agency has made to insure its
compliance with and proper application of the law, such as training and supervision
of personnel on the handling of public records requests (cooperation in identifying
records), public meetings or other day to day and special operations;
in determining the degree of neglect on the part of this agency’s agents in applying
the law (e.g., has this agency made reasonable effort to comply with the PDA (e.g., is the
burden of indexing artificial, such as by the failure to make any attempt to assist the public in identifying.
(6) To determine a need to people’s initiatives, due to the continuing uncooperative nature of prosecutors and others who believe themselves the sole individuals capable of
determining what the intent of state law.
(7) This agencyâ€™s formal position and procedure (policy) when its agents
act outside the scope of their authority, or in bad faith, and to determine what steps
it takes to avoid ratifying an agentâ€™s improper act(s);
(8) This agencyâ€™s level of compliance with law, that is, whether it holds
itself to a higher or lower standard of compliance with law than it demands of the
public it serves;
(9) For purposes of determining the degree of the liability of this agency
and its agents (RCW 4.96), if certain acts and omissions of acts were done in this
agency’s name and are within the scope of agent authority and, if not, to determine if
they were done with willful blindness and deliberate ignorance (Jewell v. United
States, 532 F. 2d 697 (Cir. 1976)), or if they were otherwise done in bad faith;
(10) What judgments and settlements rest against this agency, if attempt
has been made to recoup monies paid for judgments resulting from agent’s/agents’
improper acts, what [other] complaints have been lodged against this agency, or its
agents, and the current disposition of those complaints;
(11) Determine if there has been unlawful lending of public funds, such as
by use of the Attorney General’s Office, prosecutors, or private counsel paid with
public funds to defend agents accused of acts outside their scope of authority.
(12) Determine if there has been unlawful receipt of federal funds for the purposes of implementing or enticing federal programs into state law.
(13) Determine if the publicâ€™s servants have breached the public trust by
seeking to barter away the liberties entrusted to their care and protection, for
federal privileges and benefits, or if they have been otherwise negligent in
protecting the Peopleâ€™s liberty rights;
(14) Determine if police powers have been misused to collect taxes in the
guise of permits (See Case Law 2)
2 Thurston County Rental Owners Association v. Thurston County, 931 P.2d 208, 85
Wash.App. 171 (Wash.App.Div.2 02/21/1997).
(15) Determine the degree of inconvenience or injury caused by this
agency’s negligence and other failures to comply with law, whether relating to the
indexing of records or to other matters;
(13) Review any other information that may be of interest to the public;
(14) To exhaust administrative remedies, if any, prior to proceeding to
I V. GENERAL CAVEAT NOTICES
4.0 Generally, the laws affecting requests have been in place for over three
decades. During that time, those laws have been openly and notoriously published;
therefore, regarding those laws and this agencyâ€™s treatment of this request and any later
(1) This agencyâ€™s access to a law library is comparable to or greater than
that which is enjoyed by the general public;
(2) This agency may seek solicit opinions and legal counsel from the Attorney General, either Federal or state;
(3) This agency has access to the Internet, where it may review numerous
electronic pamphlets published by the Attorney General and other agencies and
associations, as well as case rulings that details its responsibilities;
(4) This agency was provided, at no expense to the individuals therein,
copies of the laws, whether in hard copy, or on computer media; and,
(5) This request provides this agency with pertinent cites, verbatim
excerpts, and principals of laws, that detail its duties upon receipt of a request.
4.1 Based on the foregoing facts, this agency has been timely and reasonably
noticed of, has had ample opportunity to become familiar with, and has had ample
opportunity to insure its compliance with the laws affecting this request.
4.2 Consideration of the information provided herein, and utilization of the
resources available to it, to insure compliance with the law, is a matter of this agencyâ€™s
good faith: In order to act in good faith, agency employees and officials making
disclosure decisions must be familiar with the public disclosure requirements
and the many exemptions contained in the statutes. Legal advice should be
sought in situations where statutory requirements seem unclear.
Fortunately, court decisions and attorney general opinions are available for
guidance in this complex field. (Jim Doherty, Municipal Research & Services
Center, Report No. 34, Public Records Disclosure for Washington Cities and Towns (March 1996).
4.3 This request contains directions for response and a failure to consider and
apply those directions which may result in penalties against this agency and its agents. As noted in the section, titled “DIRECTIONS FOR RESPONSE,” failure to comply with handling directives may create a presumption of a failure to respond. In such event, this agency may be called upon to show it acted in good faith, and to show its authority and justification for avoiding a directive. If no authority for such act or omission can be shown, or the failure to comply with a directive is found unreasonable, the responsible agent, or agents, may be deemed to have acted outside the scope of his authority, or in bad faith.
4.4 This request is, by this agencyâ€™s receipt of it, made part of the public record
and this agency is obliged to take all necessary steps to preserve and protect it as such.
4.5 Since the public may, from time to time, feel it necessary to review requests
given it, as well as its responses to them, this agency may find it to be to its benefit to
develop and apply a means whereby those requests may be tracked and quickly located.
Failure to anticipate such requests may result in unnecessary delays, thus could cause
this agency to incur legal fees and costs that, otherwise, would not have resulted.
4.6 Responses to requests made from an agency other than the one to which a
request is directed may be treated as a failure to respond, or an attempt to interfere with
part of an administrative process. This agency cannot properly delegate its responsibility
[to answer requests] to another agency. Wherever attempt is made to have another
agency answer in this agencyâ€™s stead, both it and the answering agency will be called
upon to provide records that clearly establish the following:
(1) Documents that will disclose this agencyâ€™s authority to delegate its
responsibility, to answer a request, to another agency.
(2) The other [answering] agencyâ€™s appointment to the position of this
agencyâ€™s public records officer.
(3) Documents that will show the answering agency obtained all requisite
authorizations necessary to allow it to represent this agency in an administrative
(4) Documents that will show the answering agency has the same access
to this agencyâ€™s files its agents have.
(5) Documents that will show the answering agency has the same
knowledge of and familiarity with this agencyâ€™s files that its agents have.
(6) Documents that will show the answering agency’s attempt to respond
in this agencyâ€™s stead will not, in any way, delay or otherwise obstruct access to
(7) Documents that will assure the requestor(s) he/they can rely on, that
any records provided came from the agency to which the request was directed, and
not from the answering agency such as the USDA.
4.7 The laws pertaining to the display and care of records are mandatory (e.g.,
procedures). Frequently, a given record may be applicable for use by several agencies,
but one agency may have complied with the law and have the record, while another
agency may have failed to comply with the law and may not have the record. The public
has the right to investigate this agencyâ€™s compliance with law; however, where another
agency responds to a request directed at this agency and provides a record from its office,
it can, reasonably, be argued the act was a bad faith attempt to conceal this agencyâ€™s
failure to comply with law.
4.8 In the event a suit is brought for an unreasonable delay or erroneous
withholding, each agency involved may be named in the suit. Furthermore, any
prosecutor, judge, or other agent(s) who erroneously or capriciously causes a delay or denial may be named personally in a separate action.
4.9 Inasmuch as requests herein are, essentially, verbatim excerpts taken from
the Revised Code of Washington [RCW], claims of confusion about which records are
being sought, may not justify a failure to timely release documents and may be deemed
an act of bad faith.
4.10 Generally, public officials attain their public positions due, all or in part, to
that they hold themselves out to be competent to perform the duties of the office they seek, and that they would perform those duties in full compliance with law.
4.11 As a condition of holding a public position, the People’s servants take an
oath, operate under a [quasi] principal who has taken an oath, or otherwise enter into
either an express or implied contract whereby they agree to uphold the laws and
constitutions of their state (Washington) and the United States of America; therefore, each of the People’s fiduciaries are obligated to maintain their position of public trust, their public office, consistent with the law.
4.12 Upon assuming a position of public trust, the People’s servants are presumed
to know the law. They have a duty to be knowledgeable of those laws and their
responsibility is a higher one than that which is upon the people they serve.
(16 AM JUR 177, 178; Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates, 459 U.S. 297, 103 S.Ct. 634,
74 L.Ed. 2d 465 (1985).
4.13 As noted above, the People’s servants are given timely and reasonable
notice (knowledge) of law, they have reasonable opportunity to familiarize themselves with law, and they have reasonable opportunity to come into compliance with laws.
4.14 Regarding limitations on the authority of the Peopleâ€™s agencies, their agents,
and their deputy agents, each are barred from all acts that are without the scope of
express delegated authority. No act may be performed which would, or may, cause the
Peopleâ€™s agency to unnecessarily incur either liability or damage; and, no act may be
performed that would cause one otherwise having a right to be denied that right, absent due process. As in the spirit of Firemanâ€™s Clause [Public Duty Doctrine] cases, each fiduciary is fully obligated to protect and care for their charge.
4.15 The liberties of the People are distinct from the rights granted their agencies,
to wit: The People are at liberty to perform any act not prohibited them, but agencies
cannot properly perform any act not expressly, and in writing, authorized them.
4.16 Where an act would, otherwise, require a clear delegation of authority, if a
delegation of authority cannot be provided, or if the agency refuses to provide
documentation that discloses a clear delegation authority, it may reasonably be presumed
that the requisite authority is lacking, that the agent is acting under mere color of authority, or the act was done in bad faith.
4.17 Regarding costs and fees incurred by the Peopleâ€™s agencies, but that would
not have been incurred, had the agency complied with law, acts outside the scope of
agency authority, or in bad faith, may be sufficient cause to initiate proceedings also against involved agents, in both their professional and private capacities, under the laws
referenced in chapter 4.96 et seq, RCW 42.17.400, or other civil or criminal law.
4.18 Acts that were outside the scope of an agentâ€™s authority, or in bad faith, may
serve as waiver of certain immunities the agent otherwise enjoyed. In such circumstances,
the agentâ€™s bond, or that of their principal, if they operate under anotherâ€™s bond, and the
agentâ€™s private assets may be vulnerable to judgment and attachment.
4.19 In event an agent uses color of authority to defray costs of defending
improper acts, whether his own or another agents, certain remedies may lie against the
agent or the agency.
4.20 Where an agent has knowledge of another agentâ€™s improper act, whether by
formal notice or other means, he may have a duty to act upon that information and to
defend the publicâ€™s trust. An agentâ€™s failure to reasonably act upon such information may
be construed as a breach of trust, or a conspiracy, and may also expose that agent to
liability, or prosecution.
4.21 Numerous remedies exist against an agentâ€™s improper acts, for example:
Qui Tam, 31 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 3729-3733, False Claims Act; RCW 42.17.400; State or federal RICO statutes; chapter 4. 92 RCW; and, chapter 4.96 RCW.
V. DIRECTIONS FOR RESPONSE
5. 0 All correspondence responsive to this request should reference the request number
(i.e., the “PD” number) displayed at the upper right in this heading, to avoid its inadvertently being associated with another request, or to avoid the presumption this agency failed to respond to the request.
5.1 If any of the records sought would otherwise be exempt, this agency should use a
suitable means to obscure or delete the exempt information and release the that portion of the record not specifically exempt from disclosure.
5.2 To avoid delaying a response, or a presumption of a non-response, use only the mailing location and appellation (name) provided in the heading of this request: DO NOT transpose, truncate, or otherwise alter the requestor’s name, as with the use of all capital letters; do not add zones or other identifiers; and, do not exchange proper state names or abbreviations with two letter abbreviations.
5.3 If this agency believes certain items being requested are exempt from disclosure, it
should provide access to all items requested not believed to be so exempt.
(Laws referenced in RCW 42.17.310(2)).
5.4 If, in responding to this request, a claim of need for more time to respond is given,
this agency should:
 Make available those items required by law to be immediately available;
 Make available all requested documents for which additional response time is not
 Provide a reason for delay; and,
 Provide the times and dates the each item will be available for review and copying.
5.5 Regarding requested documents required, by law, to be displayed by this agency,
please inform the requestor(s) of the location at which they can be viewed.
5.6 If a requested document would otherwise be exempt, this agency should use a marker,
or other reasonable means, to exclude the information that would otherwise cause the document to be exempt from disclosure and make it available for review.
5.7 If this agency elects to withhold a requested document, it should provide, in writing,
the specific exemption, by item, believed to allow or require withholding. Also provide when the date this believed exemption or withholding came into effect.
5.8 (1) If the heading and signature of this document indicates it to be from more than one requester, this agency must separately respond to each requester, and must do so using the addresses provided with each requesterâ€™s name.
5.8(2) If more than one name appears in the heading of this document, the requesters have mutually agreed to present a single request, to allow this agency to avoid having to review the same request repetitively for variations in the handling directions, notices, items requested and so forth. This also allows this agency to merely photocopy its response and insure that each requester receives his copy. This is in the interest of the Peopleâ€™s money vested in this agency and also is in the interest of the agency for purposes of time, staffing and other expenses.
5.8(3) If more than one requester’s name appears in the heading of this document, the signor’s representation of the other requesters is for the sole purpose of presenting this request document. No further duty or obligation is to be imputed by such representation. No agreement exists whereby the signor may represent the other requesters for accepting this agencyâ€™s responses. As such, he is under no duty to forward either the original or any copies of this agencyâ€™s responses to any other requester.
5.8(4) Failure to separately respond to each requester may, by each requester excluded from this agencyâ€™s response, be treated as a failure to respond and could subject this agency to a suit.
(Ref. RCW 42.17.340; Smith v. Okanogan County, 99 Wash.App. 1028, 994 P.2d 857 (2000); and Blaine Sch. Dist.
No. 503, 86 Wn. App. at 698-99(1999)).
5.8(5) If this agency disagrees with the terms of four preceding paragraphs, it should so state and should make available for inspection and copying documents sufficient to support its position, including documents containing cites to policies, laws, codes, ordinances or other authorities on which it will be relying for those purposes.
5.8(6) To the extent it does not cause the request to be construed as being a request for
information, as opposed to a request for records, in each instance in which a records request incorporates the capitalized words “A DOCUMENT/DOCUMENTS,” this agency need only provide as many documents as would be sufficient to disclose the information apparently, by the face of the request, being sought.
VI. APPLICABLE LAW
6.1 AGENCY AND AGENT LIABILITY
6.1.1 The phrase IGNORANTIA LEGIS NEMINEM EXCUSAT, translates as
ignorance of law excuses no one. 4 Bouv. Inst. no 3828; 1 Story, Eq. Jur. Â§ 111; 7
Watts, 374. Clearly, no exception is here made for public functionaries. To the contrary,
they are held to a higher standard than are layman. Each agent of a government entity is
obliged to make himself knowledgeable of all laws applying to him and the handling of
requests. As well, agents are obliged to know the finite limits of their authority.
- All persons are presumed to know the law. If any person acts under
any unconstitutional statute, he does so at his own peril. He must take the
consequences. 16 AM JUR 177, 178;
- No person can escape liability for his or her conduct by adopting either
the concept of â€œwillful blindnessâ€ or of deliberate ignorance.â€ U.S. v. Jewell,
532 F. 2d 697 (Cir. 1976); and,
6.1.2 The principals touched up here work as legal presumptions against agents,
when they omit mandatory acts or perform acts outside the scope of their delegated
[W]e may presume “that our elected representatives, like other citizens,
know the law,
” Director, OWCP v. Perini North River Associates , 459 U.S. 297, 103 S.Ct. 634, 74 L.Ed. 2d 465 (1985) citing Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677, 696-697 (1979).
6.1.3 Failure to consider and act in accordance with the laws set out or referenced herein,
to consider and act within prescribed limitations of their authority, to exercise their duties prescribed by law, or to comply with these notices, could make an agency, and its agents, subject to significant monetary or other penalties or damages.
6.1.4 Though law, generally, affords government agents significant protections, in the form of immunities while performing their official duties, those protections are not without limit. This applies equally to all public servants:
- Officers of the court have no immunity, when violating constitutional
rights for they are deemed to know the law. Owen v. Independence, 100
S.C.T. 1398 (4/16/80); and
- Courts enforcing mere statutes do not act judicially, but merely
ministerial; thus having no judicial immunity, and unlike court of law, do not
obtain jurisdiction by service of process, nor even arrest and compelled
appearance. Roswell v Oris, 9 How 336, 338.
6.1.5 Agentsâ€™ acts must be done in good faith. This principal is well established with regard to the PDA, which relies upon a determination of the degree of bad faith when establishing the level of penalty assessed for an erroneous withholding of records.
6.1.6 The laws referenced in chapter 4.92 RCW and chapter 4.96 RCW allow individuals
to name government agents in suits, based on allegations they have acted outside the scope of their authority, or in bad faith. Agents assigned to respond to requests for records should also consider the laws referenced in RCW 42.17.400. These laws extend the time an action may be started for and erroneous withholding of records, an unreasonable delay in releasing records, or a negligent failure to respond to a request to five (5) years.
6.1.7 Agents having the duty to respond to requests find it expedient to obtain advice from counsel and directives of superiors in writing, for liability purposes.
6.1.8 Though this agency may seek legal advice, it cannot escape liability for its
acts merely based on that it relied upon that advice. Any judgment against the agency
will stand against it and/or its agents and this agency’s only recourse may lie in a suit
against the advising attorney and/or against the offending agent. As such, prior to relying
on the advise of counsel, this agency may wish to request that all advice be given in
6.2 AGENCY PROCEDURES
6.2.1 Agencies have a duty to publish their procedures, failure to do so can
affect whether or not the agency may apply the procedure: RCW 42.17.250
(1) Each state agency shall separately state and currently publish in the
Washington Administrative Code and each local agency shall prominently display
and make available for inspection and copying at the central office of such local
agency, for guidance of the public:
(a) Descriptions of its central and field organization and the established
places at which, the employees from whom, and the methods whereby, the public
may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain copies of agency
(b) Statements of the general course and method by which its operations are
channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and
informal procedures available;
(c) Rules of procedure;
(d) Substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law,
and statements of general policy or interpretations of general applicability
formulated and adopted by the agency; and
(e) Each amendment or revision to, or repeal of any of the foregoing.
(2) Except to the extent that he has actual and timely notice of the terms
thereof, a person may not in any manner be required to resort to, or be
adversely affected by, a matter required to be published or displayed and not
so published or displayed. (emphasis added). 6.2.2 See also RCW 42.17.260
6.3 COURT RECORDS AND DISCLOSURE OF PUBLIC RECORDS
6.3.1 The publicâ€™s access to court case files is protected by common law right and
prescription. As well, the PDA insures the public’s right to access court administrative
RCW 42.17.260 does not apply to court case files since the question of
access is provided for by common law. The chapter does not specifically
include courts or court case files within its definitions since issues of privacy
and governmental interest in access to court files are the subject of a
separate and developed body of common law outside the Public Disclosure
Act. Nast v. Michels (1986) 107 Wash.2d 300, 730 P.2d 54.
6.3.2 While the Washington courts files may, for the time being, be considered
exempt from the terms of the PDA, it should be remembered, clerks who maintain
documents do not fall into the category of case files. It could, reasonably, be argued
computer records listing all cases are merely administrative records. Also, the mere fact
an exempt record may be mentioned in a document does not necessarily also make the
document in which it is mentioned exempt.
6.3.3 When considering applying the Nast case, agencies may find it prudent to
remember the PDA favors release of records, unless a specific exemption applies. No
special exception from the PDA was given for court administrative records.
6.3.4 Note that Washingtonâ€™s court rules nowhere make allowance for the public
access of court records. However, the public does have a right to monitor all branches of
6.3.5 Note that Washington Court Rule ARLJ 9 lays out defendants’ rights to
access public and quasi-public records held by district courts and makes clear that
defendants have the right to know the details of clerk’s records of their cases.
6.4 JUDGES AND CLERKS SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE
6.4.1 In the past, clerks and judges have refused to answer, while alleging courts
are exempt from any disclosure requirements under the PDA. In doing so, they have cited
the Nast case. However, law distinguishes, clearly, the court from judges and clerks, and
either may be approached for administrative records.
6.4.2 In Romano V. Yakey, (1906) 43 Wash. 15, 85 P 990, 9 Ann Cas 1071, the
State Supreme Court ruled the Constitution and law of this state recognize distinction
between superior courts and judges thereof. Consider also: 11 Corpus Juris, at 227,
under the heading â€œChamber Business,â€ where footnotes citing cases and references
distinguish judges from the court. RCW 2.28.050, also distinguishes judges from court.
6.4.3 That judges and clerks are subject to the PDA cannot be reasonably
disputed. Each elected official must, under peril of significant penalty, file disclosures with the Public Disclosure Commission.
6.4.4 In the case of JUDGES v HURD, 85 Wn.2d 329, 534 P.2d 1025 (1975),
judges of the Everett District Court were asked for a list of all prospective jurors. The
judges sought to deny the request, based, in part, on that the records were available
elsewhere, and that the other location was better equipped to provide the requested
information. However, in a subsequent suit, the judges were required to release the
NOTE: This ruling, in addition to making clear the application of the PDA to judges [and clerks], is
significant in that the appellate court determined the Everett District Court judges did not have the
authority to delegate their responsibility to respond to a request for access to public records to
another agency, as is the case when agencies attempt to go outside their offices and have
prosecutorâ€™s offices, or other offices, respond to a request.
6.4.5 Note that Washington Court Rule ARLJ 7 (1998) established it to be a
contempt of the Supreme Court in event local courts fail to amend or remove any local
rule that conflict with Washington Court Rules.
6.5 PUBLIC RECORDS AND DISCOVERY
6.5.1 Where a record sought would be available to a requestor under both the PDA
and through the normal discovery processes, an agency cannot properly withhold release of the item under the premise that it could be sought through discovery. Withholdings
based on such a premise is erroneous and may be deemed bad faith:
Access to records under the FOIA is entirely independent of discovery
under the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure; an individual is
free to use both means of gathering information; and
The Act directs agencies to provide to “any person” any record
reasonably described (5 U.S.C. Â§ 552 (a) and not exempt by the Act (5
U.S.C.Â§ (B)(1) TO (9)). As a general rule, no inquiry is made as to the
purpose for which the record is sought.
U.S. Attorney’s Manual, Vol. I (1994). 1-9.140 Relation to Civil and Criminal Discovery
6.5.2 The denial of a requestor’s access to a document otherwise available under
the PDA based solely on that it may be sought through discovery in a pending court action would, necessarily, presume the requestor’s rights under the PDA have been suspended, or terminated. However, where the alleged termination, or suspension is not grounded in law and no hearing on the matter has been had, but is based on an administrative determination made absent a right to be heard, the decision would lack the requisite due processes guaranteed the requestor and could subject the refusing agency to judgment under the laws referenced in RCW 42.17.340.
6.5.3 Agencies cannot withhold documents based on fact that they are or may be
available from another agency.
Limstrom v Ladenburg, 85 Wn. App. at 532 (1997), (quoting PAWS, 125 Wn.2d at 258).
- Nor can agencies refuse to disclose records based
on the premise that a requester already received the record elsewhere.
Olsen v King County, No. 46813-8-I, 2001.WA.0000830; Tacoma Public Library v Woessner, 90 Wash.App. 205, 951 P.2d 357 (1998).
Consider also Judge v Hurd, decided on other reasons.
6.5.4 As noted below, in the section addressing exemptions to disclosure, where
an agency withholds a document, it must provide, in writing, the exemption it believes
applies and the agency must briefly describe how the exemption applies.
6.6 CHARGES FOR REVIEW AND COPYING PUBLIC RECORDS
6.6.1 A government entity should never seek to profit merely because members
of the public exercise one of their liberties or rights, such as the right to review public
records. Regardless, many agencies charge outlandish fees for copying public records.
This is especially common with court clerks. Considering the capabilities of most professional quality copiers and presuming an eight hour day, a per page rate creates a potential for revenue maker, for labor of a single employee. Inasmuch as employees who perform copying tasks are compensated for their time through other means, it might, reasonably, be argued that the agency’s actions are assailable under the concept of profiteering:
The common-law right to make photocopies of court case files is
subject to the imposition of a reasonable fee for such copying, but is not
governed by the fees set out in this section.
Nast v. Michels (1986) 107, Wash.2d 300, 730 P.2d 54. (emphasis added);
Agency is prohibited from imposing a charge for searching for and retrieving
Op. Atty. Gen. 1991, No.6.
6.6.2 Review of Washington Administrative Code [WAC] pertaining to the
Secretary of Stateâ€™s offices, specifically WAC reveals that, as of 2006, charges fifteen cents for copying public records. Whereas the laws referenced in
RCW 42.17.300 disallow charging fees for locating information merely reviewed, the
search fee may only be applied when actual copies are requested:
Labor and market information fees not to exceed those allowed under
this section, see Â§50.38.060. No fee shall be charged for the inspection of
public records. Agencies may impose a reasonable charge for providing
copies of public records and for the use by any person of agency equipment
to copy public records, which charges shall not exceed the amount
necessary to reimburse the agency for its actual costs incident to such
copying. RCW 42.17.300.
6.6.3 It should be remembered that municipal corporations that deal in debt
instruments (e.g., Federal Reserve notes) reduce themselves to the status of mere
corporations, as such, they may waive any sovereign immunity they otherwise might claim.
Clearfield Trust Co. v. U.S., 318 U.S. 363, 366; 63 S.ct. 573 (1943).
6.7 DISCLOSURE EXEMPTIONS
6.7.1 The PDA favors disclosure of public records and, except where a specific
exemption is allowed, should produce requested records:
RCW 42.17.260(1) requires each agency to make all “public records”
available for public inspection and copying. AGO 1989 No. 11;
(1) Absent statutory provisions to the contrary, agencies possessing
records should in responding to requests for disclosure not make any
distinctions in releasing or not releasing records based upon the identity of
the person or agency which requested the records, and
(2) agencies having public records should rely only upon statutory exemptions or prohibitions for refusal to provide public records. Further, to avoid unnecessary confusion ‘privacy’ as used in RCW 42.17.255 is intended to have the same meaning
as the definition given that word by the Supreme Court in
‘Hearst v. Hoppe,’ 90 Wn.2d 123, 135 (1978);
Exemptions to rule that public records are subject to disclosure are to
be narrowly construed, and the agency refusing disclosure has the burden
of showing that exemption applies.
City of Tacoma v. Tacoma News, Inc., (1992) 65 Wash. App. 140, 827 P.2d 1094, review denied 119 Wash.2d, 1020, 838 P.2d 692; and,
Party desiring to prevent disclosure bears burden of proof.
Ames v City of Fircrest (1993) 71 Wash. App. 284, 857 P.2d 1083; Cowles Pub. Co. v. City of Spokane (1993) 69 Wash. App. 678, 849 P.2d 1271, review denied 122 Wash. 2d 1013, 863 P2d 73.
Most agency records are not specifically identified in the PDA, but such is not an
exemption to their disclosure.
6.8 COPY RIGHTED MATERIAL
6.8.1 Certain copyrighted public records may be copied. The Fair Use Doctrine may be
applied to public records such as to allow review and copying of copyrighted information for legitimate purposes. As an example, the content of a CD ROM containing the RCWâ€™s may be acquired for comparative purposes, to insure accuracy and to assure compliance with legislative intent.
Limstrom v. Ladenburg, 85 Wn. App. 524 (1997).
6.9 FORMS OF PUBLIC RECORDS
6.9.1 “Public record includes  any writing  containing information relating to the
conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function  prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.”
6.9.2 “A â€˜writing,â€™ defined in RCW 42.17.020(28), means handwriting, typewriting,
printing, photostating, photographing, computer disk, tape, and every other means of recording any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, papers, and other documents. It must contain information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function. And, it includes any of the foregoing items that are prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency.”
AGO 1989 No. 11.
6.9.3 Documents in prosecutor’s office files compiled on defense expert witness were
“public records” because writing related to performance of prosecutorial functions and were used by prosecutor in carrying out those functions.
Dawson v. Daly (1993) 120 Wash.2d 782, 845 P.2d 995.
6.9.4 Clerks should note that warrants, once served, are public records and may be viewed by the general public.
6.10 INDEXES OF PUBLIC RECORDS
6.10.1 The PDA places on agencies the obligation to assist the public in identifying records. Toward that end, it requires agencies to create certain indexes:
RCW 42.17.260 (3) “Each local agency shall maintain and make available for
public inspection and copying a current index providing identifying information as to the
following records issued, adopted, or promulgated after January 1, 1973:
(a) Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders,
made in the adjudication of cases;
(b) Those statements of policy and interpretations of policy, statute, and the
Constitution which have been adopted by the agency;
(c) Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the
(d) Planning policies and goals, and interim and final planning decisions;
(e) Factual staff reports and studies, factual consultant’s reports and studies,
scientific reports and studies, and any other factual information derived from tests, studies ,reports, or surveys, whether conducted by public employees or others; and
(f) Correspondence, and materials referred to therein, by and with the agency
relating to any regulatory, supervisory, or enforcement responsibilities of the agency,
whereby the agency determines, or opines upon, or is asked to determine or opine upon, the rights of the state, the public, a subdivision of state government, or of any private party.“
6.10.2 The law, in certain instances, allows agencies to avoid the creation of indexes, but still requires them to make available existing indexes:
RCW 42.17.260 (4) “A local agency need not maintain such an index, if to do so
would be unduly burdensome, but it shall in that event:
(a) Issue and publish a formal order specifying the reasons why and the extent to
which compliance would unduly burden or interfere with agency operations;
(b) Make available for public inspection and copying all indexes maintained for
6.10.3 Though the PDA allows agencies to avoid creating some indexes, it still places on
them a burden to establish indexes for the identification of records.
RCW 42.17.260 (5) “Each state agency shall, by rule, establish and implement a
system of indexing for the identification and location of the following records:
(a) All records issued before July 1, 1990, for which the agency has maintained;
(d) Interpretive statements as defined in RCW 34.05.010(8) that were entered after
June 30, 1990; and
(e) Policy statements as defined in RCW 34.05.010(14) that were entered after June
Rules establishing systems of indexing shall include, but not be limited to, requirements for the form and content of the index, its location and availability to the public, and the schedule for revising or updating the index. State agencies that have maintained indexes for records issued before July 1, 1990, shall continue to make such indexes available for public inspection and copying. Information in such indexes may be incorporated into indexes prepared pursuant to this subsection. State agencies may satisfy the requirements of this subsection by making available to the public indexes prepared by other parties but actually used by the agency in its operations. State agencies shall make indexes available for public inspection and copying. State agencies may charge a fee to cover the actual costs of providing individual mailed copies of indexes.“
6.10.4 The PDA places prohibits agencies from relying on a public record to adversely
affecting a party unless the party has reasonable notice of the record:
RCW 42.17.260 (6) “A public record may be relied on, used, or cited as precedent
by an agency against a party other than an agency and it may be invoked by the agency for any other purpose only if–
(a) It has been indexed in an index available to the public; or
(b) Parties affected have timely notice (actual or constructive) of the terms thereof.“
6.11 LISTS OF INDIVIDUALS
6.11.1 A requester is not required to give a statement of reasons for a records request. The following is an excerpt from RCW 42.17.270:
Agencies shall not distinguish among persons requesting records, and such persons shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request except to establish whether inspection and copying would violate *RCW 42.17.260(5) or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons. . . .
6.11.2 The terms of the PDA prohibits its use as a means of obtaining lists of individuals
intended to be used commercially. RCW 42.17.260 (9). Regarding such, the Attorney General for the State concluded (AGO 1988 No. 12) that agencies may condition access to lists of individuals on that the list not be used for commercial purposes. A mere statement, by the requester, that it will not be so used is sufficient and no further proof of intent of use is required.
(Reference Dawson v. Daly, In re Rosier and Yacobellis v. City of Bellingham).
6.11.3 The portions of the PDA that address lists reference only individuals and not inanimate objects. While it may be the intent of the legislative body to protect artificial persons, organizations and the like, it can reasonably be argued lists of things were not included.
6.11.4 Individuals and businesses daily obtain public records of government to engage in surplus sales and other government operations, then use the information is for commercial gain. Too, collection agencies utilizing public records to track individuals. Generally, such activities are not prohibited. The prohibition against the use of lists was established as a privacy measure and not as a means of inhibiting commerce.
Note: PDA does not cover expressly whether individual may obtain a list of individuals for someone else’s
commercial purpose, OR whether a list of entities or organizations may be obtained for commercial purposes; but the intent of the limitation would be frustrated by such a construction.
6.11.5 A requester’s refusal to disclose the reason for disclosure on a public records request form is not a basis for delay or denial of disclosure of records.
6.11.6 For the foregoing reasons, agencies that require use of their own request forms should carefully consider blanket inquiries as to the use to which documents being requested will be put. At the least, they may wish to consider making clear that disclosure of the use to which a document will be put is voluntary. On this request form or documents the term voluntary should be prominently displayed and defined.
6.11.7 From the foregoing, clearly the PDA does not prohibit a requesterâ€™s acquisition of an agencyâ€™s lists of individuals, but only prohibits the use of such lists for commercial purposes.
6.12.1 When a superior court determines that an agency withheld disclosure of records, but lacked authority to do so, law mandates that the court award a penalty.
Statutory award under PDA is appropriate whenever governmental agency
unreasonably, i.e., erroneously, denied access to records.
Coalition on Government Spying v. King County Dept, of Public Safety (1990) 59 Wash. App. 856, 801
P.2d 1009, modified.
6.12.2 Whereas the award is intended to be a penalty, rather than a damage award, it is not necessary for the plaintiff to show a damage resulted from the unlawful act.
Statutory award under Public Disclosure Act is intended to be a penalty,
imposition of which is not dependent on finding that the agency’s non-disclosure was
a result of bad faith. Yacobellis supra.
6.12.3 Though a showing of bad faith is not necessary to establish an award, the amount of the award, from five to one hundred dollars per day, is affected by the degree of bad faith involved in a withholding or delay. Yacobellis v. Bellingham, (1992).
6.12.4 Notice of the law and subsequent failure to apply or comply with the law may
reasonably be construed to be an act in bad faith and may constitute grounds for an increase of the mandatory monetary award for an erroneous and capricious withholding for the one hundred dollars per day for each incident, for each item improperly withheld.
6.12.5 The following could be construed to be bad faith acts and could result in an increased penalty may be caused by any or all the following:
- Demands that documents be sought by their specific name (e.g., manuals), even though the agency failed to publish or display the procedure and failed to index the document;
- A failure to otherwise assist the public in identifying and locating documents;
- A failure to perform a diligent search for documents;
- Requests for unreasonable amounts of time to locate documents that are or should be displayed;
- Requiring use of specific forms that make demands not allowed by the Act, as a condition to the release of nonexempt records;
- Failure to honor requests made by mail;
- Unreasonable delays caused by arbitrary demands that requests be in writing;
- Requesting unreasonable clarifications with regard to a request;
- Failing to respond or delaying responses in excess of the five days allowed under the Act;
- Discriminating between requesters, such as when attorneys are given special treatment;
- Secreting documents;
- Refusing to disclose documents clearly not exempted under law; and, other deliberate and willful ignorance of the law (U.S. v. Jewell, 532 F. 2d 697 (1976)) after being noticed of the law,
- Or otherwise performing acts contrary to law, or omitting acts required by law.
6.12.6 In Yacobellis, supra, the court determined that the “[p]rincipal factor to be considered in setting amount of statutory award under the PDA for agency’s erroneous denial of access to records, is whether agency acted in bad faith. Failure to comply with the law, after having been given reasonable notice of it, may constitute bad faith.
6.13 PUBLICâ€™S RIGHT TO KNOW
6.13.1 The people of Washington have a common law right to access court records.
Nast v. Michels, 107 Wn2d 300, 730 P.2d 54 (1986).
RCW 42.17.251 The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the
agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public
servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good
for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain
control over the instruments that they have created. The public records subdivision
of this chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to
promote this public policy.
6.14 TIME FOR RESPONSES, INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS
6.14.1 The five (5) days response time provided by Law does not apply to oral request given in office. Failure to immediately respond to the request may be deemed an act of bad faith:
RCW 42.17.270 (a) requires all agencies, upon request for identifiable public records, to
make such records promptly available to any person.
Oliver v. Harborview Med. Ctr., 94 Wn.2d 559, 565, 618 P.2d 76 (1980); AGO 1989 No. 11;
RCW 42.17.280. Public records shall be available for inspection and copying during
the customary office hours of the agency: Provided, that if the agency does not have
customary office hours of at least thirty hours per week, the public records shall be
available from nine o’clock a.m. to noon and from one o’clock p.m. to four o’clock
p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, unless the person making the
request and the agency or its representative agree on a different time; and
RCW 42.17.320. Responses to records requests shall be made promptly by agencies.
An agency must, within five (5) business days of receiving a request, either
(1) Provide the record;
(2) Acknowledge receipt of the request and ask for more time to respond; or
(3) Deny the request.
Denials of requests must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons therefore. Agencies shall establish mechanisms for prompt review of denial decisions. Such reviews shall be completed at the end of the second (2) business day following the denial and shall constitute final agency action for purposes of judicial review may request the Attorney General to review the opinion on if the record is exempt.
6.14.2 (b) A request in which the agency has failed to respond will be considered a De Facto Denial.
6.14.2 Agencies must honor requests for public records made via the U.S. Mails.
ACLU v. Blaine School District No. 503, 86 Wn.App. 688 (June 1997).
6.14.3 Though the PDA does allow five (5) days to for responses, that allowance should not be misconstrued as circumventing legislative requirements that certain items are to be prominently displayed and immediately available to requesters. Nor should it be construed as allowing delays for responses to oral requests for items that may be immediately accessed by this agency.
6.15 TRANSFER OF AGENCY RESPONSIBILITY
6.15.1 Agencies cannot transfer responsibility for responses to requests to another agency
(e.g., local prosecutors) and delegated authority cannot be re-delegated. Ultimately, responsibility for proper response rests with the agency to which the request was given. Though prosecutors and attorneys may advise agencies, or may create forms and things, they cannot reasonably or properly respond to requests given another agency. Among the various reasons a prosecutor’s response on behalf of an agency may not qualify as a valid response it their lack of access to files privy only to the agency to whom the request was given, as would be the case with court clerk’s files.
Judges v Hurd, 534 P.2d 1025, 85 Wash. 2d 329, 1975.WA.40630 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; Olsen v. King County, 106 Wash. App. 616, 24 P.3d 467 (Wash. App. Div. 1, 2001); Tacoma Public Library v. Woessner, 90 Wash.App. 205, 951 P.2d 357, 1998.WA.242 <http://www.versuslaw.com> (Feb. 20, 1998).
6.15.2 A prosecutor or attorney who answers a request for another agency may be deemed to be acting in a representative capacity, as opposed to a mere advisory capacity. In such cases, the prosecutor or attorney may be called upon to show his authority to represent the agency prior to initiation of a civil action. The authority to represent an agency may require the prosecutor or attorney to produce formal requests for representation or other mandatory items and, if no such authority exists, may be liable for misspent public funds.
6.15 PROTECTION OF RECORDS
6.15.1 If, at the time it is requested, a document is earmarked for destruction, it must be
preserved and disclosed, unless a claim of exemption is made, but in which case it must yet be preserved pending final resolution of the matter of the demand for its release.
Chapter 27.48 RCW; RCW 42.17.330; RCW 40.14. 010, 070 and 110; RCW 41.06.450 and 455; RCW 42.17.290 (paragraph 2); Amren, v. City of Kalama, (1997).
VII. RECORDS SOUGHT
7.1 Pursuant to the laws referenced in RCW 42.17.250 (1), â€œ[e]ach state agency shall
separately state and currently publish in the Washington Administrative Code and each local agency
(1) DOCUMENT/DOCUMENTS by which the requester(s) may determine â€œ[t]he
established places at which, the employees from whom, and the methods whereby, the public may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain copies of agency decisionsâ€
[Ref.: RCW 42.17.250(1)(a)]. Documents responsive to this request should disclose:
(a) Both the physical address (location) and the mailing address whereat the
person responsible for responding to records requests directed at this agency may be contacted;
(b) The identity of this agencyâ€™s public disclosure/records officer(s) or other
person(s) responsible for responding to requests for access to public records submitted to this agency, including his or her name, position, appointments and each title he holds within this agency; and
(c) The phone number(s), facsimile number(s) and the electronic mail
address(es) by which this agencyâ€™s public disclosure/records officer(s) or other person(s) responsible for responding to requests for access to public records submitted to this agency may be reached; and
7.2 Each document related to and including the appointment for the position of this
agencyâ€™s public disclosure/records officer(s).
PLEASE PROVIDE THE DOCUMENTS RESPONSIVE TO THE FOREGOING
REQUESTS VIA U.S. MAIL. BY THE SIGNATURE BELOW, YOU HAVE A
FIRM PROMISE TO PAY FOR ALL COSTS ASSOCIATED THEREWITH,
PROVIDING THE AMOUNT DOES NOT EXCEED FIVE DOLLARS ($5.00).
IF THE COPY AND MAILING COST WILL EXCEED THAT AMOUNT,
PLEASE CONTACT THE REQUESTER(S) FOR OTHER ARRANGEMENTS.
7.3 Please make available, for review and copying, documents that will disclose the efforts this agency has made to comply with the terms of chapter 42.17 RCW. Responses to this request should include, but not be limited to:
Insert your requests by number. (So the agency can refer to each request by number).
Examples below of some requests (delete when you do your own requests)
(1) Memos and things to and from this agency regarding (implementation) of ________
(2) Documents related to training programs implemented by this agency or participated
in by its agents that are/were intended to inform this agency’s agents with regard to public disclosure requests.
7.3 If any, for each instance in which this agency responds to a request with an assertion
that the description provided in the records request was inadequate to identify a record, and if this agency has been negligent in creating indexes [ref. RCW 42.17.260 (3) and (5)], please make available documents that may serve as an alternate means of identifying records in this agency’s possession.
Prioritize your request by number so that your get what you want first. Make this priority very clear for the agency.
A Request by item, for any redaction or denial of the law, statue, RCW, or WAC or any other legal citing you are not completely answering my request.
Make it also clear to the agency that you want per item, what the statute, law, RCW, WAC or whatever if they should redact (black out) or *deny* one of your requests.
[Date at heading of document]
Insert your name
Internet sites relating to the PDA:
Public Records Disclosure for Washington Cities and Towns March 1996 – Report No. 3 (4/ Municipal Research &
Services Center [MRSC] ] http://www.mrsc.org/textprd.htm#I1
Frequently Asked Questions on Public Records Disclosure http://www.mrsc.org/legal/prd/prdfaqs.htm
Public Records Disclosure Case Law Update http://www.mrsc.org/legal/prd/prdcases.htm
Se l e c t e d Ca s e s a n d Re s e a r c h Re f e r e n c e s (Up a t e d t h r ou g h Novembe r 2 0 0 1 ) ,
Public Records Disclosure RCW Chapter 42.17 Case List (May 2001 ) http://www.mrsc.org/legal/prd/pdaindex.htm
ACCESS, a Compilation and Analysis of State and Federal Laws, Rules and Decisions Affecting Public Access to
Government Proceedings and Records http://www.spjwash.org/access98/intro.htm
Public Records Disclosure for Washington Cities and Towns, March 1996 – Report No. 34,
Open Records & Open Meetings, (April 1998) Attorney Generalâ€™s Office, http://www.wa.gov/ago/records/
Itâ€™s Our Business, PB 01- 30 (December 17, 2001), by Washington Research Council http://www.researchcouncil.org
Electronic Records, Public Disclosure and Privacy 1, Presentation to the Washington State Association of Municipal
Attorneys, Spokane, WA, October 5, 2000, by Steve Gross and Ted Inkley, Seattle City Attorney’s Office 2