By Laura Dennis
Originally published Jan. 31, 2020
The Odessa American has filed a lawsuit against the City of Odessa to force the city to release public crime records in a timely manner and in accordance with state law.
For months, the OA has battled the city to provide public documents to both the OA and the public that includes police reports and probable cause affidavits in a timely manner without redacting information that has always been considered public information under Texas law.
“The amount of information the city has been withholding from the public is appalling,” said attorney John Bussian, a media law specialist. “All of this information has always been immediately available for review by the public and the media and there is no legal or other justification for the city’s change in course.”
Bussian said the unfortunate part of the OA enforcing the public records law is that the city ends up paying not only its own lawyers but also the lawyers for those requesting the records. “It’s a waste of tax dollars.”