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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Watchdog Gets Info on Arizona Mayor’s Security

PHOENIX (CN) - Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon must release 600 more pages of his police detail's activity logs to a conservative watchdog group, a state appeals court ruled.

Judicial Watch wants to see all of the Phoenix Police Department's logs for Gordon's security detail from 2007 through 2009, when the Democrat was embroiled in an alleged romantic scandal with a former fund raiser. Four police officers follow Gordon's every move at least six days a week while he is at work and attending events.

Judicial Watch requested the records 2 years ago, but a Superior Court judge initially refused to allow the group to inspect "worksheets" that often are included with the detail's daily calendar.

The city had allowed the group to see the calendars but held back the worksheets because they listed the mayor's personal errands and other private information.

The Superior Court found that the worksheets were public documents, but that releasing them could endanger the mayor and his family. It refused to order the release of redacted versions of the worksheets because they would reveal nothing that wasn't already in the calendars.

But Arizona's Division One Court of Appeals ruled last week that the worksheets contain much information that is not in the calendars and ordered their release, subject to redaction.

"Because the worksheets contain information subject to inspection, and that information is not duplicated in the annotated calendar, the superior court erred by ruling that production of redacted worksheets was unnecessary," Presiding Judge Ann Scott Timmer wrote for the Phoenix-based appeals court.

Timmer found that the city had failed to meet its burden to "demonstrate that redaction of security-related and confidential information from the worksheets would be so onerous that the city's interest outweighs the public's interest in inspection."

"The city did not specifically demonstrate how disclosure of any particular type of information would detrimentally affect the mayor's privacy interests," Timmer added. "Noticeably missing from the record before us is any assertion by the mayor or anyone on his behalf that release of any particular information in the worksheets would adversely impact the mayor's privacy."

A spokesman for Judicial Watch called the ruling a "victory of transparency in Arizona."

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