2013 Mississippi Code
§ 25-61-13 - Proceedings to compel public access to records; procedure; remedies

MS Code § 25-61-13 (2013) What's This?

(1) (a) Any person denied the right granted by Section 25-61-5 to inspect or copy public records may institute a suit in the chancery court of the county in which the public body is located, and the court shall determine whether such public record is exempt from the provisions of this chapter, and in making such determination the court shall take into consideration any constitutional or statutory law or decision of any court of this state or the United States, any rule of common law, or any public records opinion of the Mississippi Ethics Commission. Process shall be served on the proper officials according to law.

(b) Before instituting suit under this subsection, the person denied the right to inspect or copy public records may first request an opinion of the Ethics Commission as to whether the public body is obligated under this chapter to produce the records requested.

(i) The person shall attach to the request for opinion a copy of the written denial of his records request, if any. The Ethics Commission shall forward a copy of the documents to the public official who denied the records request or failed to respond to it, as well as to the head of the public body involved. The public body shall have fourteen (14) days from receipt of the documents to file a response with the Ethics Commission. After receiving the response to the request for opinion or after fourteen (14) days, whichever comes first, the Ethics Commission shall issue its opinion.

(ii) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the Ethics Commission from mediating or otherwise resolving disputes arising under this chapter.

(2) In any suit filed under subsection (1) of this section, the court has the authority to prohibit the public body from withholding the public records, to order the production of any public records improperly withheld from the person seeking disclosure, and to grant such other equitable relief as may be proper. The court, on its own motion, may privately view the public records in controversy before reaching a decision.

(3) Proceedings arising under this section shall take precedence on the docket over all other matters and shall be assigned for hearing and trial at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way. Such suits may be heard in termtime or in vacation.

(4) Any suit filed under this section shall be subject to all the rights and rules of appeal for other suits arising in chancery court.

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