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Attorney general backs Meade County action in open records case

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By The News-Enterprise

Reviewing an open records appeal, the state Attorney General’s Office ruled Meade County Attorney Jessica Brown Roberts acted appropriately in denying a request for a video that pertains to a criminal investigation.

The dispute revolved around a CD video created by Meade County Deputy Sheriff Bryce Rogers. It was made from a storage card seized from a camera as part of a December 2012 investigation related to a store owned by Elaine Matthews.

In February, the county attorney denied Matthews a copy of the disk, citing exemptions in the Open Records Act related to criminal investigations or criminal litigation.

Matthews acknowledged in her appeal to the state that Roberts provided her with a CD containing “a few still pictures” of the incident, but asserts she is entitled to “the intact CD” created by Rogers.

“Respectfully, we disagree,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Amye L. Bensenhaver, who reviewed the case on appeal.

A 1992 amendment of the Open Records Act included language providing exemption for law enforcement investigative materials, including information turned over to prosecutors.

Citing two recent opinions, Bensenhaver’s analysis said the Kentucky Supreme Court has affirmed that exemption.

The report said no error was found in her refusal to withhold the full material or release redacted data to Matthews.