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PLN wins WA DOC public records case - $541,000 in damages and atty fees

Post-Intelligencer editorial, Jan. 1, 2007. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/319353_op...
PLN wins WA DOC public records case - $541,000 in damages and atty fees - Post-Intelligencer editorial 2007

Open Government: Paying for mistakes

Last updated June 11, 2007 4:53 p.m. PT

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

Open government is a proud Washington tradition. In an unfortunate but necessary way, that heritage is honored by having the state pay for its mistakes of withholding public information.

The Department of Corrections will pay $541,000 for withholding information about reprimands for poor medical care from a prison-rights publication. The settlement with the Prison Legal News is the largest of its kind.

The money ultimately comes from taxpayers. Even so, the settlement provides a measure of accountability for corrections under successive Democratic governors. And it ought to remind all those in charge of official records that Washington's public believes in openness about its business.