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Friday, July 30, 2010

Latest Parmelee Decision

The Court of Appeals issued another Parmelee decision. He is the controversial prisoner who makes numerous public records requests of prison officials.

The case was mixed. Here is the court's summary of what it held in the three cases consolidated into the single appeal:

In conclusion, we hold that, despite obvious and repeated abuses, prison inmates had and
continue to have standing to request records under the PRA. Although at the time Parmelee filed
the requests at issue in this case the trial court could not consider Parmelee’s intent when
determining whether a document is subject to disclosure under the PRA, we hold that it did not
err when it considered Parmelee’s explicit and volunteered threat in deciding whether to grant the
government employee’s request for an injunction to protect the individual rights of that
government employee.

Accordingly, as to Mathieu v. Parmelee, we are constrained to reverse the injunction
against Parmelee because she was not named in his counterfeit sexual predator flyer and is unable
to demonstrate that she was the victim of this explicit and volunteered threat. Moreover, we hold
that the trial court erred when it found that Mathieu’s personnel records, intelligence and
investigation reports, and portions of her compensation records and training records were exempt
from disclosure under the PRA. But because the record on appeal to this court does not contain
the records DOC compiled for Parmelee regarding Mathieu, remand is necessary to allow the trial
court to review in camera the documents regarding Mathieu’s personnel records, intelligence and
investigation reports, and training records and determine whether Parmelee is entitled to them.

As to DeLong v. DOC, we hold that while Parmelee’s request to intervene was properly
denied as untimely, the trial court erred when it refused to join Parmelee as a necessary party. We
must vacate for want of jurisdiction and remand to the trial court for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.

As to DOC v. Parmelee, we hold that while ordinarily a superior court cannot consider a
PRA requestor’s intent when determining whether an injunction is appropriate, DOC employees
have the right to seek an injunction to protect their individual privacy rights when faced with anexplicit and volunteered threat.