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Court Grants Writ of Mandamus Compelling DRC to Release Inmate Records

In the case of State ex rel. Reese v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corr. Legal Dept., Slip Opinion No. 2022-Ohio-2105, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus petition submitted by a former inmate (“Reese”) who sought the disclosure of personal records from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“Respondent”) pursuant to Ohio’s Public Records Act, R.C. 149.43. The Court held that the records request was not subject to the exception alleged by Respondent and, as a result, Requestor was entitled to the release of the records.  

Here, Reese requested personal documents and information produced during the time of his incarceration. Respondent provided a partial response to the request and argued that the remaining request is exempt from disclosure pursuant to R.C. 5120.21(F), which applies to “records of inmates.” The Court ultimately agreed with Reese.

In support of its decision, the Court held that R.C. 5120.21(F) did not exempt the disclosure of records sought by Reese, reasoning that the statute does not broadly prohibit the release of inmate records unless the records are specifically defined under R.C. 5120.21(F). Here, the records requested by Reese were not records specifically defined under the statute, and therefore, the records were subject to disclosure as public records pursuant to R.C. 149.43.

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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