EUGENE, Ore. – The Lane County Circuit Court denied KEZI 9 News’ request for public records relating to some of the costs for the Angelica Swartout murder trials.
We received an email from the trial court administrator saying it “doesn’t have an existing report or record with the information for our request”.
Because the request would be treated as a request for research, the court said it doesn’t have the resources to respond.
Last week, we were given the juror costs and requested additional information regarding security costs, juror summons costs, lunches and judge costs.
Local attorney Hugh Duvall says the public records law states a requester of documents can be denied documents because of an exemption. Other than that, those documents have to be provided.
“If a record is not protected, the record has to be disclosed. And there’s only two questions: How long will it take and what will it cost? It’s not a matter of whether an agency has time or resources. They have to make it happen,” Duvall said.
But he adds while the courts must provide documents, there may be a gray area when it comes to the resources expended to add up the costs.
The totals relating to public defender costs and expert witnesses come from the public defenders commission. And while we will likely get those, we are told they usually take at least a month to gather.
We contacted the attorney general’s office who referred us to the state court administrator. We are waiting to hear back from that office.
The DA’s office says prosecuting attorney Bob Lane is a salaried employee and is overtime exempt. It says he carried on his regular caseload during the trial.