I received yet another correspondence from the judge’s office this afternoon. This time, low and behold, they found the emails I requested! Kind of…
There are no e-mails that I can retrieve from Judge Lincoln’s computer. I did, however, contact Tamara Jenkins for those that she sent to Judge Lincoln’s e-mail address. I have a list she printed for me that contains 11 contacts that she forwarded to Judge Lincoln. It looks like there are 43 e-mails from these 11 contacts. These are not direct e-mails but are e-mails Ms. Jenkins received and forwarded to Judge Lincoln. I do not have scanning capabilities from my computer. You may come by and pick up this one page printout if you want it. You may then tell me which if any of these e-mails you wish to inspect further. Ms. Jenkins will have to provide them to our office. There will be a $.15 charge per copy. Please feel free to call me with any questions or comments at (501) 279-6200.
White County Judge’s Office
This is all well and good, but this is a violation of FOI law in and of itself because I specifically requested the documents in electronic format.
Per this section of the FOIA statute (Arkansas Code 25-19-105), the county must comply:
A citizen may request a copy of a public record in any medium in which the record is readily available or in any format to which it is readily convertible with the custodian’s existing software.
Also, there should be no cost to me or any other citizen for requesting these emails:
(a)(1)(A) Except as provided in § 25-19-109 or by law, any fee for copies shall not exceed the actual costs of reproduction, including the costs of the medium of reproduction, supplies, equipment, and maintenance, but not including existing agency personnel time associated with searching for, retrieving, reviewing, or copying the records.
Since I am specifically requesting these records in the electronic format in which they already exist (they are electronic-mails, after all), there is no “actual cost of reproduction” when personnel costs are excluded, as set forth in the statute.
It is simply amazing how hard it is to get information out of our government. Let’s try this again.