ACLU of Utah Foundation and Disability Law Center v. Davis County.
On Thursday, March 25, Judge David Connors of Utah’s Second Judicial District Court ruled that Davis County must release to the ACLU of Utah and Disability Law Center the Utah Jail Standards—a set of standards that Davis County and other counties across the State have used to guide the operations of county jails. The ruling means that, despite their copyrighted status, the Utah Jail Standards are still records under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, and that the County had no valid basis for withholding the records.
This victory comes after the ACLU of Utah Foundation (ACLU of Utah) and Disability Law Center (DLC) filed a lawsuit in 2018 against Davis County to gain access to the standards for operating local and county jails. The case was led by David C. Reymann and Jeremy M. Brodis, attorneys at Parr Brown Gee and Loveless, PC. Click here to learn more: ACLU of Utah Foundation and Disability Law Center v. Davis County.
“We applaud the court's recognition of the value of transparency and public access,” said Nick Jackson, an attorney with the Disability Law Center. “Utahns with disabilities deserve to be treated with dignity, no matter where they reside, and we look forward to working to ensure Davis County and other county jails provide humane and appropriate treatment to inmates in their care.”
John Mejia, Legal Director at the ACLU of Utah went on to reflect: “This case has always been a part of larger ongoing efforts to promote transparency and increase accountability for the government in the way they treat people who are incarcerated. We are encouraged by today’s ruling, but our larger fight continues.”
“This first-of-its-kind ruling from a Utah court sends an important message that copyright is not an absolute shield to accessing privately prepared documents used by public actors,” said Reymann. “We are heartened that the ACLU of Utah and the DLC will be able to access these documents as part of their advocacy and education missions to protect the rights and liberties of people in Utah.”
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