The Marshall County Judge-Executive’s Office violated Kentucky’s Open Records Act in its handling of requests made by a Paxton Media reporter last December, according to Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office.
In December 2019, Shamarria Morrison, a reporter for WPSD Local 6, requested records regarding a proposed Second Amendment sanctuary ordinance and records regarding any employment and compensation for Lance Cary, who identified himself as “executive director of (the) judge executive” according to Assistant Attorney General J. Marcus Jones’s opinion, released last week.
According to the opinion, Judge-Executive Kevin Neal’s office violated two statutes, the first being the requirement that a notification regarding a decision on open records be sent within three business days.
The second statute Neal’s office violated requires that, for documents “in active use, in storage or not otherwise available” a place, time and date for inspection be designated within three days unless a detailed explanation for the delay is given.
In January, Neal’s office provided WPSD with 39 pages of records, but denied access to other records “due to attorney-client privileges” and claiming Cary was not compensated by the fiscal court, implying some of the requested records didn’t exist.
Jones determined Neal’s office did not give a proper justification for withholding some documents due to claimed attorney-client privilege, and that the office did not meet the burden of proof for explaining why some records relating to Cary didn’t exist.
Regarding Neal’s assertion that Cary “is not and has never been an employee or compensated by the Marshall County Fiscal Court,” Jones said Neal’s office also declined to respond to a request from the Attorney General’s Office for clarification.