FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) – The City of Arlington and its presiding judge are restricting public access to criminal records, a law firm claims in Tarrant County Court. Sullo & Bobbitt PLLC claims the problem began when “Arlington ‘moved’ all of its criminal records to control by the municipal court … declaring the information to be ‘information of the judiciary.'”
“It’s the same criminal information that has traditionally been readily available – and still is in other Texas cities – but with the new label ‘judiciary,’ Arlington limits the public’s right to access that information,” according to complaint.
Sullo & Bobbitt claims that no other city in Texas has such a restriction on criminal records.
The law firm says that when it requested a copy of an attorney general ruling on the issue, Arlington and co-defendant Judge Stewart Milner replied with a letter stating that the criminal record Sullo & Bobbitt sought was “not subject to the Public Information Act.”
The letter told Sullo & Bobbitt that if wanted to see a criminal record, it had to “inspect paper case records ‘one case at a time,'” according to the complaint.
The law office claims that violates Arlington’s own ordinances on access to city records.
It seeks declaratory judgment and write of mandamus forcing Arlington and Judge Milner to make criminal records readily available again.
Sullo & Bobbitt is represented by Bill Aleshire with Riggs Aleshire & Ray of Austin.