The Public Information Act Compliance Board (PIACB) ruled in favor of A Miner Detail concerning a public record dispute.
With this ruling, A Miner Detail (and our readers) have won three public record disputes.
Two which went before the PIACB and one which was settled with Frederick City after a lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court.
A Miner Detail has one additional pending public record dispute, which is working it’s way through the PIACB and Howard County Circuit Court.
What Did We Ask For?
On April 5th 2023, A Miner Detail submitted a Public Information Act (PIA) request to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.
We requested copied of all the “law letters” or “demonstration letters” signed by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins since 2015.
According to the response, nine such letters were created and signed.
Denial of Records
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins refused to turn over copies of the nine “law letters” which he signed, claiming that their disclosure was contradictory to federal law.
Attorney General Anthony Brown and his employee Kristin Lustilla intervened on behalf of Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
A Miner Detail was unable to confirm how involved Attorney General Anthony Brown has been in the defense of Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
Appeal to PIACB
A Miner Detail appealed the denial of records to the PIA Compliance Board.
A recent legislative creation, this board originally could only change the cost of a PIA request.
Two years ago, the Statute was modified and the PIA Compliance Board now adjudicates denial of records.
You can read the full decision here.
The PIACB concluded:
The FCSO violated the PIA by withholding the nine “law letters” responsive to the complainant’s PIA request. Those records in and of themselves do not constitute information that a federal firearms licensee is required to keep under 18 U.S.C.A. § 923(g) and the regulations issued under that provision, and the non-disclosure provisions of the Tiahrt Amendment therefore do not apply. Thus, because inspection of the “law letters” would not be “contrary to” that federal law, § 4-301(a)(2)(ii) does not require the FCSO to deny inspection. Accordingly, we direct the FCSO to disclose the nine “law letters” responsive to the complainant’s PIA request to the complainant.
Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Still Refusing to Transmit The Records
Despite the issuance of this binding directive, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is still refusing to turn over the requested records.
A Miner Detail has not received the records or any communication from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office or Attorney General Anthony Brown.
We suspect the FCSO intends to appeal this determination to the Circuit Court.
There, Chuck Jenkins can exercise his substantial influence to garner a favorable outcome.
In fact, the Judicial Branch regularly hand-picks the Judges when they are the subject of a lawsuit.
For a layperson, that would be felony Obstruction of Justice. But for a Sheriff, that’s just another Tuesday.
A constant talking point in Robert Krop’s motions in the case is that the prosecution is politically motivated.
If true, that would mean other FFLs which acquired post-1986 automatic weapons through a “law letter” or “demonstration letter” were not prosecuted due to their political beliefs.
Presently, A Miner Detail is submitting PIA requests to all 109 law enforcement agencies in Maryland.
We’ll get the information, then let you decide if this is a political prosecution.