UA might have to release more climate emails

UofaAn organization questioning the research behind climate change will get another chance to demand to see the emails of two University of Arizona scientists.

The state Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling of a trial judge who said the university need not disclose 1,700 emails and other records from Jonathan Overpeck and Malcolm Hughes. Pima County Superior Court Judge James Marner had said the university did not abuse its discretion in concluding that disclosing the documents would not be in the best interests of the state.

But appellate Judge Joseph Howard, writing for the unanimous court, said it’s legally irrelevant what university officials thought was appropriate to disclose. Howard said everyone involved in the case acknowledges the emails are public records. And he said state law carries a presumption that all public records are subject to disclosure, with certain exceptions.

What that means, Howard wrote, is that trial judges must actually examine the records to determine whether making them public really would harm “the best interests of the state” as the university is claiming.

The ruling does not guarantee the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, which has raised questions about climate change and the causes behind it, will get all the documents. But in raising the bar for the university to shield them from disclosure, it increases the chances that at least some of them will see the light of day.

And while the decision could be seen as a setback for the university, it underscores the breadth of the state’s public-records laws and the fact that the burden of proof in these cases lies with the party trying to shield them from view.

New legal briefs are due this week, after which Marner will set a date to hear arguments.

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    Captain Dave

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    Publicly funded = publicly accessible,
    with hardly any exceptions, mainly personal distress issues. Their distress at being called out as liars does not count.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

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    All UFO research has been publicly funded.
    No research has ever been published!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    amirlach

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    [quote name=”JayPee”]All UFO research has been publicly funded.
    No research has ever been published![/quote]
    Not sure why but this made me LOL… 😀

    Reply

  • Avatar

    JayPee

    |

    OK
    I should have said it differently.

    The point was that although there has been enormous government spending on UFO research, none of it is actually publically accessible.

    All they ever published have been the usual excuses of weather balloons, clouds, temperature inversions producing mirage, etc.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Captain Dave you have my vote . Start sending some of these who withhold public records to jail . IT is theft plain and simple .

    Till the records are produced as and when requested take wages as a starter . They are withholding public property and whether it is cash or not is irrelevant .

    If they are using public email accounts for personal use too bad, so sad that’s their
    problem .

    Reply

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