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Civil Rights – Public Records – CLEARs – Petition vs. Action

Civil Rights – Public Records – CLEARs – Petition vs. Action

Law enforcement agencies are not permitted to allow the viewing of custodial law enforcement agency recordings (CLEARs) absent compliance with court orders resulting from proceedings under G.S. § 132-1.4A. Subsection (f) thereof allows certain persons to ask to view CLEARs via the filing of a petition on a form from the Administrative Office of the Courts; however, subsection (g) requires everyone else to file an action and to notify (i) the head of the custodial law enforcement agency, (ii) any law enforcement agency personnel whose image or voice is in the recording and the head of that person’s employing law enforcement agency, and (iii) the District Attorney. The media petitioners herein are not among those persons contemplated by subsection (f), so they do not have standing to seek the release of CLEARs via an AOC petition. Instead, they were required to institute an action as required by § 132-1.4A(g).

We affirm the superior court’s dismissal of the media entities’ petition.

In re Custodial Law Enforcement Agency Recordings (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-010-23, 16 pp.) (Jefferson Griffin, J.) Appealed from Pasquotank County Superior Court (Jerry Tillett, J.) Michael Tadych, Karen Rabenau, Hugh Stevens, Amanda Martin and Elizabeth Soja for petitioners; no brief filed for respondent. N.C. App.

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