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[Legal] [California]
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Prisoners Denied Right to Public Records

Greetings from one of the realms of concrete and steel within California's massive prison industrial complex on the central coast in the sleazy valley. In my efforts to re-obtain copies of some records that have been improperly seized I have presented numerous written requests to prisoncrats who tend to ignore such requests.

If or when a prisoner seeks to present such matters on administrative appeals they are customarily mysteriously lost or screened out by the appeals coordinator who acts as a risk manager who systematically rejects administrative appeals on any manufactured ruse he can phantom with impunity, so after going through such headaches one tends to seek alternative means of accomplishing his endeavors.

The California legislature enacted California government code section 6250 which in the pertinent part states "that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state." This being a right and not a privilege when you look a bit further 6252 definitions sub (c) "persons" include any natural person, etc. sub (d) "public agency" means any state or local agency. Sub (e) "public records" include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics, etc. sub (f) "writing" means any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying….any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored. Sub (g) "member of the public" means any person…etc.

The definitions nowhere state that a prisoner is not a person so the provisions should be equally applicable for a prisoner as it applies to anyone else one. Now pursuant to 6253(c) "each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall within 10 days from receipt of the request determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records…" sub (d) "nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records…"

When considering the mandatory language of 6253(d) one would conclude that the legislature did not intend for any state agency, including the CDCR to have the right to delay or obstruct anyone from the obtaining of non-confidential public records. In fact 6258 "proceedings to enforce right to inspect or to receive copy of record" state: "any person may institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief or writ of mandate in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce his or her right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record or class of public records under this chapter…"

All of this is quite clear and simple language, right? I challenge everyone to look up the public records act commencing at California government code section 6250-6276. Nowhere does it say that anyone can adopt regulations that are not applicable or conflict with the public records act provisions. Section 6253.4 reads "agency regulation and guidelines which authorize every agency to adopt regulations stating the procedures to be followed when making its records available in accordance with the section". In fact at 6253.4 (b) "guidelines and regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be consistent with all other sections of chapter and shall reflect the intention of the legislature to make records accessible…"

How then can the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation simply ignore a prisoner's public records act request? When one presents the matter to the court for consideration, the state court would then take the position that the petitioner has failed to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to 15 CCR 3084.1 because he is under the jurisdiction of the department! Yet no where in the provisions of the public records act do I see where it states that the provisions of Cal Gov. C. 6250 does not apply to persons under the jurisdiction of the CDCR or revoke the right to access public records.

It is wrong to compel a prisoner to submit an administrative appeal regarding obtaining a non-confidential information needed as of a result of a federal court order that directed the plaintiff to add some other specific information to an amended complaint within a specified amount of time. Prisoncrats know this and purposely seek to cause the prisoner to not comply with the federal order so as to indirectly cause an action to be dismissed for non-compliance with the courts directive. Well luckily I was able to make some of the required corrections without a complete copy of the administrative appeals. This problem serves to further expose the injustice that prisoners are subjected to in the pursuit of the legally guaranteed rights. Not to mention that a 602 can take over 6 months administratively.

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