Court rules against newspaper in public records case

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The state Court of Appeals has ruled that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources rightly denied the Sun Herald access to administrative records it had turned over for a state investigation of former director Bill Walker’s administration.

The Sun Herald reports five of nine appellate judges decided Tuesday the agency’s records fell under a criminal investigations exemption to the Public Records Act because the State Auditor’s Office had subpoenaed the documents.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering says the ruling demonstrates that his office “took great measures to protect the integrity of the investigative process.”

The opinion reverses Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel’s October 2013 ruling.

Sun Herald Attorney Henry Laird says he’s disappointed by the ruling and the newspaper is considering what steps, if any, it will take.

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