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How is the theme chosen for each year's National FOI Day?
Does the First Amendment guarantee a general 'right of access' to government information?
Who can file a FOIA request?
How long does it take to get information under FOIA?
Can I request information from my congressman through FOIA?
What information cannot be obtained through FOIA?
How do you appeal a denial of information under FOIA?
How can I find out more about the open-records act in my state, and file a state or local FOI request?
Must a federal agency produce records in an electronic format if asked to?
What are open-meetings laws?
Aren’t open-meetings laws unconstitutional? After all, don’t they infringe upon the speech of the members of governing bodies?
How do states deal with violations of open-meetings laws?
Many states and municipalities are now webcasting public meetings. Can they forbid reproduction of the meeting videos by members of the public?
Are city councils and similar public bodies required to have periods for public comment at meetings?
How can I find out more about the open-meetings act in my state?
Can public officials violate state open-meetings laws by sending e-mails?
Do state open-meeting laws specifically address e-mail communications?
Do court transcripts fall under FOI? Can they be withheld from litigants?

The Freedom of Information Act applies only to federal government agencies. Although all states have created their own FOI acts, these acts do not apply to the court systems. However, courts have tended to allow a right of access to court files and documents, including court transcripts. The problem that the courts have constantly faced is determining just how far the right of access reaches.

The general rule is that if the public has access to a legal proceeding, then it has the right to access to the records of a proceeding, which include court transcripts.

Many states’ Web sites have instructions for ordering court transcripts. For example, see Connecticut’s Judicial Branch site or Kansas’s Judicial Branch.

Litigants in a trial have the right of access to obtain court transcripts of the trial if the public also has access. However, judges do have the authority to withhold court transcripts from the public and litigants.

An Ohio Supreme Court decision held that the cost of obtaining a court transcript depends on who is making the request. In State ex. rel. Slagle v. Rogers, the state court held that parties to a court proceeding must pay the court reporter $2.50 per page for a transcript. Anyone who subsequently requests a court transcript must pay only 10 cents per page — the standard rate in Ohio for any public record.

Are states making court records available electronically for the public?
Does the public have access to documents such as water-quality, toxic-waste and bridge-safety reports?
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Last system update: Saturday, April 24, 2010 | 15:08:29
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