California Supreme Court rules officials’ communications are public records, even if made on private devices

Comstock/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The California Supreme Court unanimously decided that government officials can be forced to make public emails, text messages and voicemails regarding government affairs, even if the comments were made on private telephones or personal computers.

The decision was written by Justice Carol Corrigan and states that officials can't shield their communications from public record requests by using private devices.

Community activist Ted Smith brought the case after his request for public records regarding a development proposal in San Jose was stalled by the city arguing that communications on private devices were not covered by the California Public Records Act, the Los Angeles Times says. According to the newspaper, cities, counties and other local governments lobbied the court to side with the city of San Jose.

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