Definitions: What is an Official or Public Record

Davison v. Dunnavant (circuit court)

Henrico circuit judge rules a senator can be sued for a FOIA violation in her individual capacity and that Facebook posts can be public records. But, the Facebook posts in this case are deemed not about public business and so did not need to be disclosed.

Attorney General Opinion Sept 27 2013

A public official's constituent newsletter may or may not be a public record; it depends on the content and use of the newsletter. However, if you assume the newsletter is a public record, the email distribution list used to send the newsletter is would not be exempt from disclosure.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-12

Considering three different records exemptions, an adult arrestee photograph (mug shot) may not be withheld as a noncriminal incident record; may be withheld if its release would jeopardize a felony investigation; and may be withheld if the subject depicted is also a witness.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-12

A telephone billing record paid by a public official in his personal capacity that was not prepared for or used in the transaction of public business is not a public record subject to FOIA. Such a telephone billing record is not paid with public funds, only indicates that a call was made (it does not reveal the contents of the call or who made it), and is prepared by the service provider in order to receive payment as part of a commercial transaction.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-11

Adult arrestee booking photographs (mug shots) are public records subject to FOIA.

Saltville v. Surber

Judge in Saltville reviewed under seal several documents related to a former town employee. He eventually ruled that some of them must be released to a newspaper, over the former employee's objection, and that others did not have to be released because they did not discuss public business. Read the full final order here.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-10

For the purpose of the definition of public records, the meaning of in the transaction of public business must be examined on a case by case basis. FOIA does not mandate how to perform a search for records, but any search that is conducted must be carried out in good faith.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-08

A record that is not prepared, owned, or possessed in the transaction of public business is not a public record subject to FOIA. When conducting private business, public officials and employees (in this case, a university law professor) should avoid indicia, such as agency letterhead, that make private records appear to carry the imprimatur of a public body.

Attorney General's Opinion 2007 #027

List of concealed-carry gun permittees should be kept confidential by the state police because it might contain names of crime victims or witnesses.

Rivera v. Long (Norfolk Circuit Court) (on costs and attorneys' fees)

Judge rules on cost prevailing plaintiff should pay for copies of general registrar's records, as well as on attorneys' fees for the plaintiff's attorney.

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