The Iowa Public Information Board
COMES NOW, Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Dismissal Order.
On May 31, 2020, Richard Aultman filed formal complaint 20FC:0055, alleging that the Fremont County Sheriff (Sheriff) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.
Mr. Aultman alleged that he filed a request for a public record on May 27, 2020, for records concerning Sheriff activity responding to an incident on May 18, 2020, at an address in Sidney, Iowa. He was informed on May 27, 2020, that there were no records responsive to his request.
He stated that he had independent information that substantiated his claim that there was Sheriff activity on May 18, 2020, at the address given to the Sheriff.
The Fremont County Attorney responded to the complaint on behalf of the Sheriff. Initially, she stated that there were no records responsive to his request. The county attorney then reviewed all body camera footage from May 18, 2020, and determined that two other deputies had visited the identified location to interview a minor who was a witness to a delinquency under investigation.
Following the attorney’s review of the body camera footage, she responded to Mr. Aultman and to the IPIB on June 3, 2020, that the footage and the accompanying investigation was confidential pursuant to Iowa Code section 22.7(5) as part of an ongoing investigation and Iowa Code section 232.147 as a juvenile court record.
Iowa Code section 22.7(5) provides that certain peace officer investigative reports are confidential, subject to the release of the “date, time, specific location, and immediate facts and circumstances.”
Iowa Code section 232.147(3) expands the confidentiality of juvenile court records to include:
Official juvenile court records in all cases alleging the commission of a delinquent act except those alleging the commission of a delinquent act that would be a forcible felony if committed by an adult shall be confidential and are not public records.
Juvenile court records can be released to certain named parties, but Mr. Aultman is not among those people or agencies that can access such records.
A forcible felony was not alleged in the juvenile court action. The Sheriff has no authority to release the requested records.
Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and could have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 20FC:055 is dismissed as legally insufficient pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b).
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may “delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.” The IPIB will review this Order on June 18, 2020. Pursuant to IPIB rule 497-2.1(4), the parties will be notified in writing of its decision.
By the IPIB Executive Director
Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of June, 2020, to:
Naeda Elliott, county attorney for Fremont County