BY MAIRE O’NEILL
First Judicial District Judge Greg Shafer has ruled that all but two emails dated May 15, 2017 from Los Alamos County Councilor Susan O’Leary’s personal email account are not public records. The emails are part of a lawsuit filed in June 2017 by former Los Alamos resident Patrick Brenner and his mother Lisa Brenner against Los Alamos County Councilors and the County’s Records Custodian under the state Inspection of Public Records Act.
The case, which went before Judge Shafer Apr. 18, involves a request by the Brenner sunder the state Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) for all emails sent and received May 15 by Los Alamos County Councilors. The Brenners maintained not all O’Leary’s emails from her personal email account from that date were produced by the County.
The County requested that the Court review O’Leary’s personal emails in camera to determine if they are public record and should be released to the Brenners.
Judge Shafer had indicated at the April hearing that he would issue an opinion on the emails on or before May 7. The emails he ruled to be public records were sent to Gloria Maestas at the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office.
Although all but two emails were declared not to be public records, Judge Shafer’s ruling indicate that there were “public records” that were not released pursuant to the IPRA request.
Attorney Blair Dunn who represented the Brenners in the case said Thursday evening that Judge Shafer determined that there were public records that were not produced.
“That de facto means the law was violated,” he said. “It’s hilarious to claim vindication when the County is going to pay attorney’s fees for violating the law. Councilor O’Leary should be ashamed for wasting taxpayer money in this case like she has.”
Los Alamos County is represented by attorney Tony F. Ortiz. Councilor O’Leary is represented by attorney Kate Ferlic. Councilor O’Leary could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Judge Shafer has set a hearing for Nov. 2 to discuss “next steps and deadlines in the resolution for the case”.