[WEBINAR 6/26] Major Wins for Transparency: How the N.H. Supreme Court Reshaped the Right to Know Law

June 26 | 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. | Free and Open to Public

Featuring

RICK GAGLIUSO | A member the New England First Amendment Coalition and New Hampshire Press Association Boards of Directors, Gagliuso is an established construction law authority, media attorney and civic activist who is a shareholder in the Bernstein Shur Law firm in Manchester. He represents media outlets throughout the state.

GREGORY V. SULLIVAN | A member of the NEFAC and Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications Boards of Directors, Sullivan serves as general counsel for the Union Leader Corporation. He teaches First Amendment Media Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston and at the Loeb School in Manchester, N.H.

This event will be moderated by NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman and Loeb School Executive Director Laura Simoes.

Program Sponsors


ADDITIONAL DETAILS

The New England First Amendment Coalition, Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New Hampshire Press Association will present a webinar about recent decisions expanding the public’s right to know about government.

Attorneys Richard Gagliuso and Gregory V. Sullivan will discuss two positive decisions issued by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire earlier this month that will make it easier for the public to oversee its law enforcement agencies and hold police officers accountable for their actions.

Gagliuso of Bernstein Shur and Sullivan of Malloy & Sullivan were among the attorneys arguing for the public’s right to know in the cases.

In each case, the high court overruled a previous decision that categorically exempted from the state’s Right-to-Know Law any records related to “internal personnel practices.” With these rulings, that category of records is now more limited. A balancing test — rather than the more strict per se exemption — is now also required to determine if those records should be publicly released.

At stake in the cases was the public’s right to access certain law enforcement records. Seacoast Newspapers v. City of Portsmouth concerned the release of a 2018 arbitration decision about a fired police officer. In Union Leader Corp. v. Town of Salem, the court addressed a public records request for an audit report that included details about internal affairs complaint investigations.

Both the police union in Portsmouth and the Salem Police Department had cited a 1993 case Union Leader Corp. v. Fenniman to try to argue that the documents were exempt from the Right-to-Know Law, an earlier decision the court now says is flawed.


NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include Hearst Connecticut Media Group, Paul and Ann Sagan, The Boston Globe, WBUR, Boston University and the Robertson Foundation.

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