The California Public Records Act (CRPA) is designed to maximize the transparency and accountability of the government and public agencies. But in practice, the statute governing how citizens and journalists can seek the release of internal agency documents is crippled by the state courts’ undue deference to the very entities that are being put under the microscope, in the name of civic hygiene. The often bewildering malleability of the courts in these cases needs to be curtailed.
The 1st District Court of Appeal recently ruled that the University of California was the “prevailing party” after more than five years of litigation by me. The CPRA petition, submitted in 2017 to Alameda County Superior Court by my attorney Roy S. Gordet, had resulted in the release of more than 700 pages of previously withheld documents shining light on the circumstances of the 2014 death of UC Berkeley student-athlete Ted Agu, and on the actions of university officials to conceal them from the public.
I characterize the Agu story as a cover-up. It will be featured in a book next year on the national phenomenon of annual and avoidable conditioning drill deaths of non-professional football players, from the collegiate level on down. The appellate decision arbitrarily reversed the final ruling of the lower court judge who had presided over every painstaking detail of the case.
My negative experience with the state judiciary points to several aspects of what is wrong with the execution of CPRA and the fulfillment of its mission.
CONTINUED TODAY AT BEYOND CHRON, THE SAN FRANCISCO ALTERNATIVE NEWS SITE: https://beyondchron.org/cal-football-death-cover-up-case-shows-how-states-public-records-act-needs-to-be-fixed/.