Kansas committee changes open records bill

3/24/2014

TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has substantially changed a measure that originally sought to make it easier for the public to get documents used to justify police searches and arrests.

TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has substantially changed a measure that originally sought to make it easier for the public to get documents used to justify police searches and arrests.

As originally written, individuals whose homes are searched would have 30 days to request documentation explaining the reason for the search. Kansas is one of the few states that seal probable-cause affidavits. Neighboring Missouri does not.

The measure passed the House 113-10, but in the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Greg Smith, R-Olathe, on Thursday came up with amendments that would separate out the arrest warrant affidavits and continue to seal them as in current law. The search warrant information would be made available immediately to those whose property is searched at the time of the search, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Anyone wanting to view the documents could petition the court clerk for the information 14 days after the search warrant was executed. Prosecutors and police would have seven days to file an objection to the release.

"I'm quite happy with current law. This amendment is an attempt to appease both sides," Smith said. "Both sides probably aren't going to be happy about it, so that probably means it's good law."

Prosecutors have raised concerns that opening the records could jeopardize the safety and privacy of victims and witnesses. The bill was amended earlier to allow prosecutors to seek to have the records sealed or redacted in such instances.

Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, who sponsored the original bill, said Thursday he'll try to secure a place on a House-Senate conference committee to debate the changes made Thursday.

"I continue to disagree with the position that prosecutors and law enforcement in Kansas are different than the prosecutors and law enforcement in other states that do not have these problems," Rubin said.

------

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

comments powered by Disqus
I commented on a story, but my comments aren't showing up. Why?
We provide a community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day.
Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. We expect civil dialogue.
Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome.
Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum.

If you don't see your comment, perhaps you ...
... called someone an idiot, a racist, a moron, etc. Name-calling or profanity (to include veiled profanity) will not be tolerated.
... rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
... included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
... accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
... made a comment in really poor taste.

MULTIMEDIA