U-Idaho Files Action With Court Seeking Records Release Ruling

From the University of Idaho

Media Contact: Tania Thompson, University Communications-Moscow, (208) 310-9736, taniat@uidaho.edu; Ysabel Bilbao, University Communications-Boise (208) 989-8855, ybilbao@uidaho.edu

U-Idaho Files Action With Court Seeking Records Release Ruling

MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho filed an Action for Declaratory Relief with the Latah County District Court late this afternoon — as directed by President M. Duane Nellis last Friday — to seek a ruling on whether the personnel records for Ernesto Bustamante, who police believe shot Kathryn Benoit last week, can be released.

Today’s filing asks the court to interpret the meaning of the Idaho Public Records Law §9-340C(1), which bars public agencies from releasing most personnel records for current and former employees without the employee’s consent. The question to be resolved by the court is whether this law applies after the death of the former employee.

“This is an unusual request, because it asks the court to resolve an issue before a complaint is ever filed,” said Kent Nelson, university general counsel. “It’s fitting in that we want to provide a timely accounting for the public within the bounds of the law.”

The university has been in touch with several media agencies. Those that agreed to participate as defendants in this action include the Lewiston Publishing Company, which publishes both the Lewiston Morning Tribune and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. The Idaho Statesman also has agreed to join. Others may join as well.

“We’re working with the media outlets to gain a timely answer to this question,” said Nelson.

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The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho’s economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.

From the University of Idaho

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