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A Letter Attached to a Police Report Is not Automatically Incorporated Into the Public Record

In the case of State ex rel. Fluty v. Raiff, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-3285, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a letter that is attached to a police report does not make that letter a part of the police report when the letter is not noted in the report.

In this case, the teacher argued that a letter written by a city’s law director became incorporated in the police report when the letter was attached to the report and should be produced with the report in a public records request. In response, the city’s law director argued that the letter was not actually a part of the report, as the letter was not mentioned in the report itself. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with city’s law director.

In support of its decision in favor of the city’s law director, the Ohio Supreme Court explained that the public record must refer to anything attached to it in order to become incorporated in the public record itself. The Ohio Supreme Court further explained that statutory damages were not appropriate because the law director reasonably believed that the redacted versions of the police reports were sufficient because the law director believed that some of the information in the police reports could not be disclosed as confidential law-enforcement investigatory records.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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