GREAT VICTORY FOR OUR FRIENDS IN NEVADA’S COMSTOCK FIGHTING RESIDENTIAL MINING IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD:

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that personal devices, such as cell phones or data stored on a server, used by public officials are subject to disclosure rules under the state’s public records law.

In a unanimous decision published Thursday, the state’s highest court reversed a decision by Washoe County District Court Judge Steven Kosach denying a records request for any communications made by public officials on official business on their own private devices, even if the device is not provided or owned by the government agency.

“We conclude that the (Nevada Public Records Act) does not categorically exempt public records maintained on private devices or servers from disclosure,” Judge Michael Cherry wrote in the order. “To withhold a public record from disclosure, the government entity must present, with particularity, the grounds on which a given public record is exempt.”

The case was originally brought by the Comstock Residents Association against the Lyon County Board of Commissioners over an industrial zoning decision made in 2013. As part of the case, the association made a public records requests for communications over the zoning change made on both private and public devices.

The Supreme Court also remanded the case back to the lower court with instructions to engage in future proceedings to determine if the requested records were made in “the provision of a public service.”

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a small-government think tank, celebrated the ruling in a statement on Thursday, saying it reaffirmed the state’s commitment to a government that is both “transparent and accountable.”

“The ruling — drawing on the plain language of the law and the intent behind it — established jurisprudence which will act as a bulwark against those who would seek to undermine Nevada’s Public Records Law by choosing to conduct public business on private devices,” NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner said in a statement.

Public Records ruling by Riley Snyder on ScribdThe Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that personal devices, such as cell phones or data stored on a server, used by public officials are subject to disclosure rules under the state’s public records law.

In a unanimous decision published Thursday, the state’s highest court reversed a decision by Washoe County District Court Judge Steven Kosach denying a records request for any communications made by public officials on official business on their own private devices, even if the device is not provided or owned by the government agency.

“We conclude that the (Nevada Public Records Act) does not categorically exempt public records maintained on private devices or servers from disclosure,” Judge Michael Cherry wrote in the order. “To withhold a public record from disclosure, the government entity must present, with particularity, the grounds on which a given public record is exempt.”

The case was originally brought by the Comstock Residents Association against the Lyon County Board of Commissioners over an industrial zoning decision made in 2013. As part of the case, the association made a public records requests for communications over the zoning change made on both private and public devices.

The Supreme Court also remanded the case back to the lower court with instructions to engage in future proceedings to determine if the requested records were made in “the provision of a public service.”

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, a small-government think tank, celebrated the ruling in a statement on Thursday, saying it reaffirmed the state’s commitment to a government that is both “transparent and accountable.”

“The ruling — drawing on the plain language of the law and the intent behind it — established jurisprudence which will act as a bulwark against those who would seek to undermine Nevada’s Public Records Law by choosing to conduct public business on private devices,” NPRI Transparency Director Robert Fellner said in a statement.

Public Records ruling by Riley Snyder on Scribd