Today, the Gaston County Trial Court Administrator issued a calendar setting argument in Deitz v. Belmont for the morning of May 16 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 4B. Judge Carla Archie will preside over the session — though this does not necessarily mean that she will hear arguments.
Deitz raises the question of whether a city can refuse to produce as a public record a third-party investigative report into government employee misconduct produced at taxpayer expense. The Deitz family, represented by the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom (CLF), argues that the investigative report is a public record. The City of Belmont argues that it is a confidential personnel document, and therefore not subject to the state’s public records laws.
As I stated in a recent blog post, the controversy in Deitz is fairly straightforward:
The case presents the issue of whether an investigation into the Belmont Police Department is a public record. Put briefly, CLF is alleging that an investigation conducted into a police department by a private investigation company is a public record, and as such it should be disclosed pursuant to the Public Records Act. The City of Belmont has taken the position that the entire investigative report is a confidential personnel file, and that it therefore does not have to disclose the report as a public record.
You can learn more about Deitz by visiting the CLF litigation library.