Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hyman v. Sadler

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

May 10, 2017

WILLIAM WHITFIELD HYMAN APPELLANT
v.
BILL SADLER, IN HIS OFFICAL CAPACITY AS PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FOR THE ARKANSAS STATE POLICE, AND THE ARKANSAS STATE POLICE, DIRECTOR, COLONEL BILL BRYANT APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NINTH DIVISION [NO. 60CV-16-4681] HONORABLE MARY SPENCER MCGOWAN, JUDGE

          King Law Group PLLC, by: William Whitfield Hyman, pro se appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Colin R. Jorgensen, Sr. Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Judge

         Appellant William Whitfield Hyman, an attorney, filed a complaint in the Pulaski County Circuit Court under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), codified at Arkansas Code Annotated sections 25-19-101 to -110 (Repl. 2014 & Supp. 2015), to compel appellees Bill Sadler, public information officer for the Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas State Police, Director Colonel Bill Bryant (collectively referred to as the ASP), to respond to his request for records, which included dash-cam surveillance video of Nathan Alexander Earp's arrest for DWI. Hyman had requested the material on Earp to aid in his representation of Earp at his driver control hearing. By order filed September 1, 2016, the trial court dismissed the complaint as moot because Hyman had received all the material he had requested. On appeal, Hyman argues that the trial court erred when it found that (1) his complaint was moot; (2) the ASP rightly denied his request because of an undisclosed investigation; (3) the statutory three-day period to respond did not apply to Hyman's first FOIA request; and (4) Hyman was not a prevailing party for purposes of an award for attorney's fees by the Arkansas Claims Commission. We affirm the trial court's determination that the issue was moot.

         On July 15, 2016, Hyman emailed Sadler and made the following FOIA request to the Arkansas State Police:

1. Surveillance footage and audio from any building or vehicle (particularly the detention center, patrol vehicle, and transport station) of Nathan Alexander Earp and his related DWI charge on or about June 26, 2016, that may have recorded Nathan Earp.
2. Phone calls, dispatch audio recordings, and CAD logs at the time of the arrest.
3. Any police reports, narratives, or statements about the arrest, including narratives.
. . . . 5. Any results or findings of a blood draw.

         After Hyman sent an August 16, 2016 email to Sadler that noted the July 15, 2016 FOIA request, Sadler responded by email that he had received the request for records "associated with an open investigation relating to Nathan Alexander Earp." Sadler opined that any video that existed documenting the alleged driving violation or arrest was exempt pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 25-19-105(b)(6) (undisclosed-investigation exemption).[1] He further advised that the evidentiary records sought might be obtained through the litigation and discovery process.

          Hyman responded that the case was "closed by arrest" and was "not an open investigation." He threatened that if the ASP did not comply with his FOIA request, he "might be forced to file a civil suit to force [its] participation." Sadler responded, "Please contact the prosecuting attorney and request a subpoena or order and we will comply with the records we may have."

         Hyman filed a FOIA complaint against the ASP on August 22, 2016, and claimed that ASP had refused to provide the videos and communications he had requested. He claimed that the undisclosed-investigations exception did not apply because Earp's DWI investigation was closed by citation on June 26, 2016, and there was no other suspected passenger in the vehicle. He alleged in his complaint that the videos he sought would not constitute an undisclosed or ongoing investigation.

         A hearing was held on August 30, 2016, and Hyman testified that he had made a FOIA request via email to the ASP. He said he did not get a response from Sadler, so he sent him another email. He said that Sadler complied with some of it at that time, but specifically denied the request for video under the undisclosed-investigation exemption. Hyman stated that he believed the exemption did not apply because Earp had been "cited." He said that he made another request for the information that was denied, so he filed his complaint in circuit court. He further testified that the ASP's response on August 23, 2016, was in violation of FOIA because ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.