The Idaho Supreme Court ruled unanimously today against efforts by the Idaho Department of Correction to withhold public records about execution drugs, ruling in favor of University of Idaho Professor Aliza Cover. Justice Robyn Brody wrote the 18-page decision; all four other sitting justices concurred. The court also awarded Cover attorney fees and costs on appeal.
"These records must be released to Cover without redaction, except to the extent they contain personally-identifying information that Cover does not seek," Brody wrote in the ruling.
She noted, "The Idaho Public Records Act grants a general right to the public to examine and copy public records of the state," and that, "Under the Act, public records are presumed 'open unless provided otherwise by statute.'” Citing earlier Idaho Supreme Court precedent, Brody wrote, “This Court narrowly construes exemptions to the disclosure presumption. ... The agency withholding records 'bears the burden of persuasion and must ‘show cause,’ or prove, that the documents fit within one of the narrowly-construed exemptions.'” The Department of Correction failed to do so, she found.