The Maine Monitor Sues York County for Jail Call Records
On August 2, The Maine Monitor filed a lawsuit against York County, challenging the County's denial of reporter access to public records that may detail times it has recorded confidential conversations between defendants being held at the York County Jail and their lawyers. The request is part of a larger investigation into practices in Maine jails regarding surveillance of pretrial inmates. Of the five counties petitioned for release of records, only York has so far refused to provide the requested material. The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School and Sigmund Schutz, a partner with Preti Flaherty in Maine, on behalf of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, challenged the County’s denial in Kennebec County Superior Court.
“This is about records that would show whether there’s illegal eavesdropping on attorney-client phone calls,” Schutz said. . . . “The public records law is meant to avoid the kind of response, ‘trust me, we’re fine.’ It’s meant to allow the public and journalists, historians, academics — whoever — to be able to confirm for themselves what public institutions are doing.”