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The Burden of Proving Public Records Act Compliance Rests with the Records Custodian

In the case of State ex rel. Ware v. Crawford, 2022-Ohio-295, the Ohio Supreme Court granted an inmate’s writ of mandamus to compel a prison official to provide public records.

Here, the prison records custodian argued that the factual dispute of whether the requested records were mailed to the inmate must be resolved against the inmate because the inmate failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the prison records custodian did not send the requested records.

The Court disagreed with the prison records custodian and reasoned that the prison records custodian had the burden of proving compliance with the Public Records Act because the prison records custodian was in the better position to affirmatively show that the prison records custodian did, in fact, provide the records to the inmate. Because the prison records custodian provided no evidence to corroborate the assertion that the prison records custodian mailed the records that the inmate requested, the inmate’s writ was granted in part.

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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