Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Outgoing New York Times CEO Mark Thompson thinks there won’t be a print edition in 20 years
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 11, 2014, 3:51 p.m.
LINK: www.civilbeat.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   February 11, 2014

We wrote last fall about how the Hawaii news site Honolulu Civil Beat was spawning a separate legal aid clinic to help the public — or even other news organizations — fight for better records access. (Civil Beat is probably best known as the other nonprofit news site Pierre Omidyar started and backs.)

Well, the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest just fought and won its first case.

For nearly 20 years, Hawaii police officers who were suspended for misconduct have been able to hide behind an exemption in the state’s public records law that prevents officials from releasing their names and details of disciplinary actions.

The public also has been prohibited from finding out whether police officials are handling discipline properly, whether it’s effective, and whether the public safety is being compromised. Even cops who have committed serious crimes have been allowed to remain anonymous.

But on Monday, in a case brought by Civil Beat, Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto ruled that police cannot be above the law when it comes to disclosure of their misconduct.

Sakamoto said police officers have no right to privacy when it comes to getting in trouble. The judge also reaffirmed the public’s interest in scrutinizing government officials, especially those with a badge.

Feel free to send this post around to your local billionaires to see if they’re interested in funding something similar in your community.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Outgoing New York Times CEO Mark Thompson thinks there won’t be a print edition in 20 years
Also, the Times now reaches about half of American millennials.
How do you run a fun membership drive in sad pandemic times? Maximum Fun has some ideas
Plus: What Spotify wants premium advertising to sound like, claims of systemic racism at PRX, BBC pushes for podcast audiences in Africa, and can Serial stay special?
People are using Facebook and Instagram as search engines. During a pandemic, that’s dangerous.
Data voids on social networks are spreading misinformation and causing real world harm. Here are some ideas on how to fix the problem.