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State's Highest Court Rules In Favor Of Public Records Requests

Police departments cannot deny public records requests for booking photographs or arrest reports from incidents involving police officers or other public officials, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.

In a case brought by the Boston Globe, the Supreme Judicial Court decided that privacy provisions in the state's criminal and records laws do not justify preventing the public from acquiring photos and information about arrests of law enforcement and other public figures.

The public interests in disclosing those materials "substantially outweigh the privacy interests in rehabilitation and reintegration furthered by the CORI act," SJC Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote in the decision.

The case has been working its way through the legal system since 2014.

Gants cited the 2018 criminal justice reform act in several sections of his decision as a factor in the ultimate appeal.

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