First Amendment Coalition
October 21, 2019
The First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in a lawsuit against the San Diego district attorney’s office, forcing the disclosure of public records related to accusations of sexual misconduct by public employees.
As a result of FAC’s lawsuit, a court ordered the county to turn over dozens of pages of records. District Attorney Summer Stephan’s decision to not comply with the California Public Records Act comes at a cost to taxpayers: The county will pay nearly $100,000 to FAC and its lawyers.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, Oct. 16 voted to approve the settlement, which came after a year of litigation in San Diego Superior Court.
FAC’s lawsuit vindicated an important principle under the California Public Records Act — that public agencies must produce actual records in their files. The district attorney insisted that it was sufficient for the agency to release tailored summaries of records while withholding the records themselves.