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Prison Legal News sues San Francisco over public records request

Daily Journal, Jan. 1, 2009. www.dailyjournal.com
Prison Legal News sues San Francisco over public records request - Daily Journal 2009

S.F. Sued Over Access to Settlement Records

August 20, 2009 5:02 PM

A nonprofit legal magazine run by an ex-convict has sued San Francisco, seeking records of city payouts in jail inmates' lawsuits against the city.

Prison Legal News, the work of former inmate Paul Wright of Seattle, filed the lawsuit today after more than a year of attempts to get public records of the settlements. The city attorney has turned over some records, but they are incomplete, according to the complaint. Prison Legal News v. City and County of San Francisco, CGC-09-491641 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Aug. 20, 2009).

If the claim sounds familiar, that's because the magazine is also suing Los Angeles County and the state Department of Corrections seeking similar records.

Prison Legal News is also awaiting responses to California Public Records Act requests in Orange and Sacramento counties, said the magazine's lawyer, Sanford Rosen of Rosen, Bien & Galvan in San Francisco.

"For whatever reasons ... they make it hard, even though the Legislature's made it very, very clear that, at the end of the day, the citizens, the public, the more than 30 million residents of the state of California, are entitled to know how their money is spent," Rosen said.

A San Francisco city attorney spokesman declined to comment.

Rosen said San Diego County recently complied with a public records request from the magazine,