OC Loses Fight on Public Records, Free Speech

A superior court judge has ruled against Orange County’s immediate destruction of certain public records as well as new rules governing public comments at Board of Supervisors meetings, Voice of OC reports.

Judge Sheila B. Fell issued her decision Wednesday, July 3.

On the public records, Judge Fell said state law requires county documents to be kept for a minimum of two years. The judge rejected the county’s claim that “transitory records” were exempt, saying neither the Public Records Act nor the Ralph M. Brown Act contain such a provision.

On the public comments, Judge Fell pointed out a discrepancy in the enforcement of the new rules, which prohibit addressing county supervisors by name. Evidence showed individuals were allowed to address the officials directly as long as they were speaking favorably. Only when the remarks were critical was the rule enforced. That’s likely unconstitutional, the judge said.

The county said it would not comment on the decision until an order is issued. Judge Fell is awaiting a proposed court order from the ACLU.

Read more at Voice of OC.