STATE MILLER v. PINKNEY

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Supreme Court of Ohio.

The STATE ex rel. MILLER v. PINKNEY, Sheriff, et al.

No. 2015–0612.

Decided: April 12, 2017

The Law Firm of Curt C. Hartman and Curt C. Hartman; Koehler Fitzgerald, L.L.C., and Daniel P. Carter, Cleveland; and Finney Law Firm, L.L.C., and Christopher P. Finney, Cincinnati,, for relator. Robert J. Triozzi, Cuyahoga County Law Director, and Robin M. Wilson, Assistant Law Director, for respondents.

Per Curiam.

{¶ 1} Relator, Mark W. Miller, filed this original action in mandamus against the Cuyahoga County sheriff. Frank Bova held that office at the time this litigation commenced, and therefore all prior rulings in this case were issued under the caption State ex rel. Miller v. Bova. Clifford Pinkney currently serves as Cuyahoga County sheriff and has been automatically substituted as respondent in place of Bova. Civ.R. 25(D)(1). The mandamus action seeks to compel the production of the following records pursuant to R.C. 149.43, Ohio's Public Records Act:

all offense or incident reports in the possession, custody or control of the Cuyahoga County Sheriffs Office in which Edward FitzGerald was identified in any of the following capacities: (i) reportee; (ii) complainant; or (iii) victim.

Respondent Judy Blatnik, the public records manager for the sheriff, denied the request, asserting the records were security records pursuant to R.C. 149.433(A)(3)(a)—recodified in 2016 as R.C. 149.433(A)(1), 2016 Sub.S.B. No. 321.

{¶ 2} This court sua sponte ordered the respondents to

submit under seal each offense and incident report in the possession of the sheriff's office that is responsive to relator Mark Miller's request so that the court may review the records in camera to determine which reports may be released and which reports satisfy the definition of a “security record” in R.C. 149.433.

State ex rel. Miller v. Bova, 147 Ohio St.3d 1456, 2016-Ohio-8121, 64 N.E.3d 1001.

{¶ 3} Incident reports “initiate criminal investigations but are not part of the investigation.” State ex rel. Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Maurer, 91 Ohio St.3d 54, 56, 741 N.E.2d 511 (2001). Routine offense and incident reports are public records and are “normally subject to immediate release upon request.” State ex rel. Lanham v. Smith, 112 Ohio St.3d 527, 2007-Ohio-609, 861 N.E.2d 530, ¶ 13. In contrast, a security record is “[a]ny record that contains information directly used for protecting or maintaining the security of a public office against attack, interference, or sabotage.” R.C. 149.433(A)(1). A security record is not a public record and “is not subject to mandatory release or disclosure” pursuant to the Public Records Act. R.C. 149.433(B)(1).

{¶ 4} Upon examination of the records delivered to this court pursuant to our order, we have determined that among the records are incident reports dated May 1, 2012; June 1, 2012; September 26, 2012; March 18, 2013; October 1, 2013; April 24, 2014; May 14, 2014; August 2, 2014; and August 27, 2014—all of which are attached to this opinion as an appendix—they are not security records and are subject to release with the redaction of exempt information. We therefore grant the writ in part and deny it in part, and we award costs and reasonable attorney fees which will be determined upon review of Miller's filing of an itemized application.

Writ granted in partand denied in part.

APPENDIX

PER CURIAM.

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