August 16, 1993






IN RE: Craig A. Cagle/City of Hickman Police Department






This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the actions of the City of Hickman Police Department in responding to Mr. Craig Allen Cagle's July 1, 1993, request for copies of certain documents purportedly in the Department's custody. Those records relate to his July 30, 1985, arrest for murder and are identified as:


1) All police investigation reports;


2) [A]ll victim and witness statements;


3) [A]ll photographs of crime scene [and] victims and witnesses statements;


4) [A]ll autopsy reports.


Mr. Cagle is an inmate at Kentucky State Reformatory, and his request was made under the Open Records Act.


On behalf of the Hickman Police Department, Chief Dean Parnell responded to Mr. Cagle's request on July 20, 1993. Chief Parnell advised Mr. Cagle that he would "have to see the Commonwealth Attorney[]" in order to obtain copies of the records. In a subsequent conversation with the undersigned, Chief Parnell explained that the investigative file was turned over to the Commonwealth's Attorney to assist him in his prosecution of the case. Accordingly, the requested documents are no longer in the Department's possession.


We are asked to determine if the Hickman Police Department violated the Open Records Act in responding to Mr.

Cagle's request. Although it was not issued within three business days, as required by KRS 61.880(1), we conclude that Chief Parnell's response was substantially correct.


KRS 61.872(4) provides:


If the person to whom the application is directed does not have custody or control of the public records requested, such person shall so notify the applicant and shall furnish the name and location of the custodian of the public record, if such facts are known to him.


Chief Parnell's response, although admittedly terse, substantially complied with this provision. Since the records are no longer in the Department's custody, he directed Mr. Cagle to the Commonwealth's Attorney. Chief Parnell erred in failing to provide Mr. Cagle with the actual name and location of the custodian of the record, assuming such facts are known to him. Nevertheless, his response was consistent with the letter of the Open Records Law.


Mr. Cagle and the Hickman Police Department may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882.














Distributed to:


Mr. Dean Parnell, Chief of Police

City of Hickman Police Department

404 Troy Avenue

Hickman, KY 42050


Mr. Craig A. Cagle, #395603

Kentucky State Reformatory

3001 W. Highway 146

LaGrange, KY 40032