Gibbons messages back in news

Gibbons messages back in news

Overruling a lower court judge, the Nevada Supreme Court found that former governor Jim Gibbons must disclose information about the email messages on his state equipment to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

When Gibbons was governor, the newspaper learned he was generating hundreds of text and email messages, and it went to court under the Nevada public records law to force disclosure of the messages.

In the case of 98 email messages, District Judge Todd Russell shielded all but six from disclosure.

The Supreme Court ruled that the newspaper needs information about the messages just to make its case for disclosure. “In view of the emphasis [in the public records law] placed on disclosure and the importance of testing claims of confidentiality in an adversarial setting, we agree … that ‘it is anomalous’ and inequitable to deny the requesting party basic information about the withheld records, thereby relegating it to advocating from a nebulous position where it is powerless to contest a claim of confidentiality.”

As a result, Gibbons will have to provide an accurate synopsis of each message to the Gazette-Journal.