News organization seeking records on Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting

17 04 2013

Two years after a gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head, documents about his case remain under government seal.
The Associated Press reports that three news organizations — The Washington Post, KPNX-TV in Phoenix and Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which publishes the Arizona Republic, want U.S. District Judge Larry Burns to unseal any remaining documents in the case, as well as release redacted information that is no longer required to be secret.
Giffords, a Democratic member of Congress, was shot in the head Jan. 8, 2011, by Jared Lee Loughner during a meet-and-greet outside a Tucson supermarket. Loughner, who pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges to avoid the death penalty, killed six people and wounded 12 other people.
Giffords resigned from Congress and is recovering from her injuries.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Office has released around 2,700 pages of documents, but at least four remain sealed, the Associated Press reported. The news organization argue that Loughner’s fair-trial rights are no longer at risk, and the information should be released.
Prosecutors have asked permission to take until May 8 to file their response to the request.

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West Valley City’s police board not so transparent

28 03 2013

One would expect an agency created to ensure police officers are accountable would be the model of transparency.

But, as The Salt Lake Tribune’s Nate Carlisle and the Tribune’s editorial board reported, West Valley City’s Professional Standards Review Board is a bit more opaque.

The paper noted that West Valley City’s board does not publish meeting notices or its findings, nor are the names readily available.

Contrast that with the Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board, which announces its meetings and publishes a quarterly report showing how many complaints have been reviewed, the nature of the complaints and how many times it ruled against police. The board also issued reports detailing how Salt Lake City police raided the wrong home while serving a search warrant, and highlighting problems within the city’s vice squad.

The came to light as the city has held back information on the shooting of Danielle Willard, 21, in November. One of the officers in that case recently had 19 drug cases he was involved in dismissed by the district attorney for a lack of credible evidence.

Willard’s mother and attorney have accused the city of engaging in a cover-up, based in part on the lack of information.

West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle told a news conference that the city, in hindsight, should have been more forthcoming with information.