PODCAST: Public records appeals in Massachusetts
What to do when government officials ignore your records request, try to charge excessive fees, or make overbroad exemption claims
I appeared on The Weed Out podcast with Joanna Mae Boody and Spencer Fox Peterson to share my advice for what to do when you are denied access to public records in Massachusetts. I explained how to file an appeal with the supervisor of public records, how to challenge excessive fees and overbroad exemption claims, when to ask the supervisor to perform a so-called in camera review of records, and what to do when an agency ignores an order from the supervisor.
You can listen here:
If you’d like to file an appeal, you can use the email address for the Public Records Division listed on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office here.
I would encourage everyone interested in making records requests to review the official Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, which includes more information including details about all the exemptions. It can also be helpful to review the Public Access Regulations promulgated by the secretary’s office.
The new podcast is part of a two-part series about the public records law that I recorded with The Weed Out. You can listen to part one, in which I discuss the importance of the public records law and some of the big problems with it, here:
I also recorded a podcast with The Weed Out earlier this year to discuss my in-depth investigation of a police brutality incident in Berkshire County, and how it shows a lack of accountability for cops in Massachusetts. You can read my reporting about that here and listen to the podcast here:
Thanks to Joanna and Spencer for having me on so many times!
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That’s all for now.
This is an excellent podcast and your substack is an important read for anyone working against police brutality and needing to do information requests. Thank you for all you do!