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July 20, 2024

Protective Order Issued Against City of Marshall –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On January 9, 2015


In the matter of LeFever v. City of Marshall, the mayor, and the city clerk – a hearing was held on January 6, 2015, to consider a Motion for Protective Order to protect the existing audio recordings of City Council and Committee meetings and executive sessions.

Both parties submitted arguments, and ultimately it came down to Plaintiff’s distrust in the city to maintain the existing recordings as they are. Granting this Motion for Protective Order eliminates the possibility of “losing” them for any reason.

One interesting item in this hearing was that the mayor admitted during his testimony that former Alderman Bev Church had failed to record a closed session – one that is listed in this suit. In that failure, she ultimately violated the Open Meetings Act which specifically states that all closed (executive) sessions shall be audio or video recorded.

In the end, LeFever prevailed in the Motion for Protective Order and the City of Marshall was ordered to deliver a flash drive consisting of all the recordings to the Circuit Clerk for safekeeping. The drive and its recordings were filed under seal so as to protect the contents from the general public, who would not normally be allowed access to them for any reason.

This case involves whether or not an elected Alderman has access to them in his normal course of duties, or whether the city can demand certain limitations to his access, or refuse access altogether.

Docket Entry on January 6:

Plaintiff present with Atty Mcgrath. Camie Sanders & Nancy Smitley present with Atty James. Cause called to hearing on Motion for Protective Order. Sworn testimony heard. Petitioner’s Exhibit 1 admitted over objection. Petitioner’s Exhibit 2 admitted for demonstrative purposes only. Court grants Motion for Protective Order in part. Defendant is ordered to turn over the flash drive or drives containing recordings of sessions listed on Petitioner’s Exhibit 2 on January 8, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. to the Circuit Clerk. Plaintiff will provide a fire safe and lockable container for use by the circuit clerk in storing the flash drive(s). The circuit clerk will provide a receipt to the city. The flash drive(s) are to be held under seal by the Clerk. Cause remains set for hearing on February 26, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. (BJO/skw)

Docket Entry on January 8:

Flash drive received from City Of Marshall, sealed in envelope, locked in fireproof container and stored in vault. Receipt from Circuit Clerk’s Office acknowledging possession of flash drive. Correspondence from City Of Marshall on file acknowledging surrender of flash drive to Circuit Clerk’s Office. (jwm)

Follow this case on Judici (click here).

Previous article here…

This is just another example of your local newspaper failing to report things that are of interest to their readers.


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