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Larry Adams v. Pennsylvania State Police

August 31, 2012

LARRY ADAMS, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bernard L. McGINLEY, Judge

Submitted: August 3, 2012

BEFORE: HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge

HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge

OPINION BY JUDGE McGINLEY

Larry Adams (Adams) challenges the order of the Office of Open Records (OOR) that denied Adams's appeal from the decision of the Pennsylvania State Police (Police) which denied Adams's request to gain access to Police policy regarding the use of confidential informants and granted his request for records concerning the training required for a state trooper.

On September 26, 2011, the Police received Adams's request for information in which he sought the following:

1. A copy of any and all training material that an Investigational State Trooper receives on the use of Confidential Informants.

2. If not included in the above, The State Police Policy regarding the reliability of an informant and when is he deemed unreliable and/or when he should not be allowed to continue to be an [sic] Confidential Informant.

3. If not included in the above, The actual contract that an individual must sign which obligates them to a certain standard of conduct as a Confidential Informant.

4. Any Departmental rules, regulations or written procedures governing the conduct for removal of an individual from being a Confidential Informant and his removal from being a Confidential Informant.

Request from Larry Adams, September 22, 2011, at 1.

By letter dated October 31, 2011, the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Records & Identification Right-to-Know Office (Office) granted Adams's request with respect to the training of state troopers and denied the request with respect to confidential informants. Susan J. Fleming (Fleming), Deputy Agency Open Records Officer for the Office, denied the request for the following reasons: 1) the requested record came under the exemption in Section 708(b)(16)(vi)(A) of the Right-to-Know Law (Law),*fn1 65 P.S. §67.708(b)(16)(vi)(A), because it would reveal the institution, progress, and result of a criminal investigation; 2) the disclosure of the record would hinder the Police's ability to secure an arrest, prosecution, or conviction, or would endanger the life or physical safety of an individual and was exempt under Section 708(b)(16)(vi)(D) and (E) of the Law, 65 P.S. §67.708(b)(16)(vi)(D) and (E); 3) the requested record came under the personal security exemption of Section 708(b)(1)(ii) of the Law, 65 P.S. §67.708(b)(1)(ii); and 4) the record, if disclosed, would be reasonably likely to jeopardize public safety or preparedness under Section 708(b)(2) of the Law, 65 P.S. §67.708(b)(2).

Adams appealed to the OOR. The Police reiterated the reasons why the request was denied. The Police submitted the affidavit of Fleming which stated the reasons why the records were initially denied. She identified the records as "Informants and Sources of Information, Administrative Regulation 9-9" and "Operations Memorandum 7-2 Informant History Report."*fn2

Following a request for clarification, the Police also submitted the affidavit of Captain Andrew Ashmar, Bureau of Criminal ...


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