April 22, 1997





In re: Toni Parrish/Hopkins County


Open Records Decision


This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal by Toni Parrish in connection with his requests for access to a specifically described document.


In a request form, dated February 12, 1997, Toni Parrish made a request to Dr. Mark LeVaughn of the Regional Medical Center in Madisonville, Kentucky, for "One copy of the autopsy report that you conducted on 09-28-92 at approximately 0900 hrs. Case number 92-368." Receiving no response at all Mr. Parrish renewed the request in a document dated March 5, 1997.


Toni Parrish’s letter of appeal to this office, received in the Civil Division on March 25, 1997, stated that no response had ever been received relative to either of his requests.


On March 25, 1997, this office sent a document designated as "Notification of Receipt of Open Records Appeal" to Toni Parrish, to the Hopkins County Attorney, and to the Hopkins County Coroner. No response has been received from the doctor, the medical center, or from any public official in Hopkins County.


KRS 61.880(1) sets forth the duties and obligations of a public agency or an entity subject to the provisions of the Open Records Act relative to a request for access to agency records. In part, the agency is required to respond in writing within three business days of the receipt of the request and advise the requesting party as to whether access to the requested document will be granted. The statutory requirements were not complied with in this situation.


This office, in a number of decisions and opinions, including 94-ORD-84, OAG 91-6, and OAG 91-147, copies enclosed, concluded that pursuant to what now appears as KRS 61.878(1)(h) and KRS 17.150(2) an autopsy report is exempt from mandatory public disclosure when a criminal prosecution is contemplated and until the prosecution is completed or a decision is made to take no action in the matter.


Thus, if the criminal prosecution involving this autopsy report has been completed and if the autopsy report is in existence, that report should be made available to the requesting party, Toni Parrish.


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.


A. B. Chandler III

Attorney General




Thomas R. Emerson

Assistant Attorney General




Copies of this decision

have been distributed to:


Toni Parrish #116783

Western Kentucky Correctional Complex

P.O. Box 5000

Eddyville KY 42038-5000


Dr. Mark LeVaughn

Regional Medical Center

Madisonville KY 42431



W. Logan Calvert

Hopkins County Attorney

P.O. Box 691

Madisonville KY 42431


John Walters

Hopkins County Coroner

221 E. Wilson Street

Earlington KY 42410