RI pays ACLU over public records case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state of Rhode Island has paid more than five thousand dollars in attorney fees to the American Civil Liberties Union for a public records case the ACLU pursued.

Nearly three years ago a winter snow storm gridlocked the state. Governor Carcieri was out of the country and in his absence there was a vacuum of leadership. When he returned he appointed National Guard Major General Robert Bray to be in charge should it happen again.

The American Civil Liberties Union had to sue under the Public Records law to get documents related to that decision. Now a judge has ordered the state to pay the ACLU $5,500 in attorney fees.

"I think it's unfortunate that the taxpayers are on the hook for the state's reluctance to comply with a very important law - a law that all the public should be concerned about having strong enforcement of," says ACLU Rhode Island director Steve Brown.

The emails the ACLU ultimately secured through the lawsuit didn't shed much light on the chain of command issue, according to Brown.

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