Department of Arkansas State Police v. Keech Law Firm P.A. (Majority)Annotate this Case
Roby Lowery Stapleton was murdered in 1963. Her murder remains unsolved. In 2013, through the Keech Law Firm, Stapleton’s family made a formal written request to the Department of Arkansas State Police (ASP) for a copy of the case file and other materials relating to ASP’s investigation into Stapleton’s murder. ASP denied the request. Keech then filed a complaint against ASP asking the circuit court to compel disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) . ASP maintained that the material was exempt under FOIA because it was the subject of an open and ongoing investigation into Stapleton’s murder. The court ordered ASP to turn over the file, concluding that the case was not an “open and ongoing” law enforcement investigation and, therefore, the claimed exemption did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court’s finding that this investigation was not open and ongoing was not clearly erroneous; and (2) this case falls squarely within the purpose of FOIA.