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Public Officials’ Private Emails not Public Records

The California Public Records Act declares that “access to information conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” Government Code Section 6250. Failure to comply with the CPRA carries a significant penalty: A successful plaintiff is entitled to mandatory award of its attorney fees against the public entity which withheld records which it should have released. Section 6259(d). Communication by electronic media raises multiple questions as to which emails, texts and tweets to and from public officials and employees are, or are not, public records subject to disclosure under the CPRA.

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