09 May 2006
2006-C -0229 JOHN HILL; GANNETT RIVER STATES PUBLISHING CORPORATION, D/B/A THE TIMES OF SHREVEPORT; THE NEWS STAR, MONROE; THE DAILY ADVERTISER LAFAYETTE; THE TOWN TALK, ALEXANDRIA; AND THE OPELOUSAS DAILY WORLD; AND THE LOUISIANA PRESS ASSOCIATION v. EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES, EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH COMMUNICATIONS DISTRICT AND PAM PORTER (Parish of E. Baton Rouge)
VICTORY, J., would grant the writ.
note: we blogged about this back in december 2005 see Marjorie McKeithen Whats the Secret? and we hope that gannett appeals this to the u s supreme court. the whole thing reeks of croynism within an old boy network style cover-up. we still want to know whats the secret?
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Supreme Court has refused to hear Gannett's appeal to open records of the 911 tapes that summoned aid last year to the home of the late Secretary of State Fox McKeithen.
Only Justice Jeff Victory of Shreveport voted to hear the case, with the other justices voting not to hear the appeal, according to information made public today.
As is usual, the court did not give written reasons for denying the Gannett Louisiana newspapers' application for a review of trial Judge Janice Clark's ruling last spring to keep the public records confidential.
"The only place we can go from here is to consider an application to the United States Supreme Court, said Gannett attorney Scooter McNew of Monroe, who represents the Alexandria Town Talk, the Lafayette Advertiser, the Monroe News Star, the Opelousas Daily World and The Times in Shreveport.
The newspapers filed suit last March seeking access to the 911 tapes in order to find out why it took three calls to McKeithen's home on Feb. 17, 2005, from two phones before an ambulance took the secretary of the state to the hospital.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Medical Services refused to allow the newspapers access to the tapes, but did release a time log that showed an hour and nine minutes expired between the time of the first of four calls and the time McKeithen was taken to the hospital.
McKeithen was left a quadriplegic by the daytime fall while alone at home. His family said only that an employee had gone by his house to check on him at noon after talking with him earlier that morning.
McKeithen, 58, died July 16, after directing the removal of a respirator.
A special election will be held this fall to select a successor, because more than a year was left in his four-year term upon his death. The fall congressional election date was the first available statewide election.
EMS acknowledged the 911 tapes were public records under state law, but said they could not be released because of the federal health privacy law.
Gannett's Louisiana newspapers filed suit seeking disclosure of the tapes under the Louisiana Public Records Act on March 15, shortly after McKeithen's fall.
Judge Clark upheld the Baton Rouge EMS's refusal to disclose the tapes three weeks later. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge upheld Clark's ruling in a Dec. 23, 2005, decision.
The newspapers then asked the State Supreme Court to consider the case.
Posted by wst... at 02:25