Court: Threat records on Ohio governor not public - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Court: Threat records on Ohio governor not public

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state of Ohio acted legally in withholding records documenting threats against Republican Gov. John Kasich from a political blogger who requested them, the Ohio Supreme Court decided Wednesday.

In an unsigned opinion, the high court rejected the Democratic-leaning blog Plunderbund's arguments that the state Public Safety Department had improperly denied its request for public records under a "security records" exception to state law.

"(A) public office cannot function without the employees and agents who work in that office, and records 'directly used for protecting or maintaining the security of a public office' must inevitably include those that are directly used for protecting and maintaining the security of the employees and other officers of that office," the opinion said.

Plunderbund's attorney said his client will ask the court to reconsider. Kasich's office declined comment.

Attorneys for the state argued in the case that Ohio public-records law clearly allows records of threats against Kasich to be shielded from public view for the governor's protection,

Plunderbund contended security records only include those records created to protect the physical facilities of the governor's office.

The blog initially sought investigation files on any threats to Kasich or his staff from the Public Safety Department in 2012. Shortly before the request, Kasich's office cited a large number of threats against the governor as a basis for declining to release daily schedules to the state Democratic Party. The blog wanted to find out the nature of the threats.

It remains unclear whether the referenced threats were tied to large labor protests that had been staged against Kasich in 2011 during a battle over bargaining limits for public-employee unions. The fight ended in a new state law being overturned.

During oral arguments, Plunderbund attorney Victoria Ullmann cited as evidence of the state's overly broad use of the law that the state continued to deny access to the threat records even after the blog's reporter repeatedly narrowed his request to include only a description of each threat.

The state's attorney told justices that Ohio public-records law makes clear the government can shield such records from public view for Kasich's protection - and that means the entire investigative file, including the threat itself.

To settle the issue, the court hinged Wednesday's decision in part on affidavits submitted by several experts, including state Public Safety Director John Born and Ohio's Highway Patrol superintendent and homeland security director, which persuaded justices that releasing records sought by Plunderbund would indeed pose a security threat to the governor. Justice Sharon Kennedy recused herself from the case.

Ullmann said her motion for reconsideration will note that Plunderbund was not given any chance to cross-examine those officials.

The decision comes as Kasich's rival in the November governor's race, Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald, has been sued by the Ohio Republican Party over his refusal to release county records detailing his comings and goings from government buildings and parking facilities. He has also cited security.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • The Latest: Tanker in Navy collision had safety violations

    The Latest: Tanker in Navy collision had safety violations

    Monday, August 21 2017 8:02 AM EDT2017-08-21 12:02:43 GMT
    The U.S. Navy says the USS John S. McCain has docked at Singapore's naval base with "significant damage" to its hull after a collision between the warship and an oil tanker.More >>
    The U.S. Navy says the USS John S. McCain has docked at Singapore's naval base with "significant damage" to its hull after a collision between the warship and an oil tanker.More >>
  • Welcome Week at YSU: Events, concerts and more

    Welcome Week at YSU: Events, concerts and more

    Monday, August 21 2017 7:54 AM EDT2017-08-21 11:54:58 GMT

    Youngstown State University is kicking off a new academic year this week as Fall semester classes begin on Wednesday.

    More >>

    Youngstown State University is kicking off a new academic year this week as Fall semester classes begin on Wednesday.

    More >>
  • Roadway debris leads to 20 highway deaths per year in Ohio

    Roadway debris leads to 20 highway deaths per year in Ohio

    Monday, August 21 2017 7:24 AM EDT2017-08-21 11:24:37 GMT

    Ohio's traffic accident data shows that 20 people are killed each year in crashes caused by debris on highways. The statistics show debris on the state's roadways has led to nearly 19,000 crashes between 2012 and 2016. During that time, 102 people have been killed and 569 have been seriously injured in debris-related crashes in Ohio. 

    More >>

    Ohio's traffic accident data shows that 20 people are killed each year in crashes caused by debris on highways. The statistics show debris on the state's roadways has led to nearly 19,000 crashes between 2012 and 2016. During that time, 102 people have been killed and 569 have been seriously injured in debris-related crashes in Ohio. 

    More >>
  • SpotlightSpotlightMore>>

  • Stuff the Bus!

    Stuff the Bus!

    Sunday, August 13 2017 7:52 PM EDT2017-08-13 23:52:49 GMT

    21 WFMJ, Great Clips, Cocca’s Pizza and Huntington Bank have teamed up with the United Way to “Stuff the Bus,” now through September 3rd.   

    More >>

    21 WFMJ, Great Clips, Cocca’s Pizza and Huntington Bank have teamed up with the United Way to “Stuff the Bus,” now through September 3rd.   

    More >>
  • Panerathon 2017 Team Peacock Registration

    Panerathon 2017 Team Peacock Registration

    Sunday, July 30 2017 8:13 PM EDT2017-07-31 00:13:49 GMT

    Join 21 WFMJ this year for Panerathon 2017!  We want to have the biggest team at Panerathon this year and we need your help. 

    More >>

    Join 21 WFMJ this year for Panerathon 2017!  We want to have the biggest team at Panerathon this year and we need your help. 

    More >>
  • Weather Pics

    Weather Pics

    Check out weather related pics from our viewers!  Please send your pics to weatherpics@wfmj.com.

    More >>

    Check out weather related pics from our viewers!  Please send your pics to weatherpics@wfmj.com.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms