May 29, 1996

In re: Daily News/Justice Center - Warren County


This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal by Robyn Minor, City Editor of the Daily News newspaper, in connection with her attempts to secure access to a document in the possession of the Justice Center.

In a letter dated April 9, 1996, Ms. Minor cited the Open Records Act and requested that Circuit Judge Thomas R. Lewis furnish her “a copy of the policy regarding use of the metal detector at the justice center.”

James R. Gildersleeve, Court Administrator of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, responded to Ms. Minor in a letter dated April 22, 1996, and advised that the requested material is not subject to the Open Records Act. In support of his assertion he cited Ex Parte Farley, Ky., 570 S.W.2d 617 (1978), and KRS 26A.200 and KRS 26A.220.

Ms. Minor requested, in a letter dated April 23, 1996, that Mr. Gildersleeve reconsider his denial because the case of Ex Parte Farley is not applicable. Mr. Gildersleeve responded in a letter dated April 24, 1996, and advised Ms. Minor that the material requested would not be made available as court records and documents are “exempt and outside the purview of the Open Records Act.”

Ms. Minor's letter of appeal was received by this office on April 29, 1996. She again asserted that the case of Ex Parte Farley is not applicable and that she should be given access to the justice center's security procedures manual, particularly as it applies to the use of a metal detector.

This office on May 3, 1996, received a response to the appeal from Mr. Gildersleeve, with various attachments, which has also been considered.

This office has consistently recognized that records of the courts are not governed by the Open Records Act. See York v. Commonwealth, Ky.App., 815 S.W.2d 415 (1991) and Ex Parte Farley, Ky., 570 S.W.2d 617 (1978). At page 624 of its opinion in Ex Parte Farley, the court said in part:

On its face, the Open Records Law, KRS 61.870-61.884, incl. (Ch. 273, Acts of 1976), appears to apply. Whether its provisions conflict with or are harmonious with KRS 26A.200-26A.220, incl. (Ch. 22, Acts of 1976 Ex Sess.), we need not decide, because we are firmly of the opinion that the custody and control of the records generated by the courts in the course of their work are inseparable from the judicial function itself and are not subject to statutory regulation.

Previously issued decisions of this office concluding that records of the courts are not governed by the Open Records Act include 95-ORD-89, 95-ORD-51, 95-ORD-31, and 95-ORD-13, copies of which are enclosed.

KRS 26A.200, relative to court records, provides as follows:

(1) All records, as defined in KRS 171.410(1), which are made by or generated for or received by any agency of the Court of Justice, or by any other court or agency or officer responsible to such court created under the present Constitution, or a former constitution, whether pursuant to statute, regulation, court rule, or local ordinance shall be the property of the Court of Justice and are subject to the control of the Supreme Court.

(2) The Supreme Court shall determine which records were generated, made or received by or for any court.

See also KRS 26A.220 pertaining to the Supreme Court's supervision and control of records of the court.

In connection with the public's accessibility to the policy and procedures manual of a county jail and the written rules prescribed for the operation of the county jail, see 95-ORD-121, copy enclosed.

It is, therefore, the decision of the Attorney General that the Open Records Act was not violated by the Justice Center of Warren County and the Court Administrator as the justice center's security procedures manual, including its policy relative to the use of metal detectors, is not a public record subject to the terms and provisions of the Open Records Act.

A party aggrieved by this decision may appeal it by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. Pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), the Attorney General should be notified of any action in circuit court, but should not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceeding.






Copies of this decision

have been delivered to:

Robyn Minor

City Editor

Daily News

P.O. Box 90012

Bowling Green, KY 42102-9012

James R. Gildersleeve

Court Administrator

Eighth Judicial Circuit

Justice Center - Warren County

P.O. Box 3000

Bowling Green, KY 42102-3000