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Maryland Legal Orgs Ask State To Establish ‘De Novo’ Standard For Public Doc Fee Waiver Denials


The ACLU of Maryland, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and the Public Justice Center have filed a brief with Maryland’s highest court asking the state government to reconsider state law in a manner that would make government documents that are meant to be publicly accessible free of charge or, at least, no longer locked behind “exorbitant” fees, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters. The brief was filed as part of Baltimore Police Department v. Open Justice Baltimore, a case that deals with a request from an organization for internal investigation records for police at BPD. The department originally attempted to charge a prepayment of more than $1.4 million for a subset of responsive records and denied requests for fee waivers.

“Agencies are increasingly demanding that public interest organizations … pay thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to access records about the operations and activities of the government,” the brief reads. The organizations asked the court to side with Open Justice, but also to clarify how courts should handle challenges to open records fees in the future.

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