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I called district attorney spokesman Paul Levikow this morning to see whether the office would hand over a copy of public records without charging us $1,354 after we published this post yesterday. I left a message. No response yet.
So then I sent an e-mail to Levikow and other staffers requesting an interview with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. I want to know whether she supports the office’s fees, which open government advocates call outside the law. No response so far.
In the meantime, I want to share an exact copy of my public records request and a few reader comments.
In December, I requested all data related to DA cases involving the state’s gang enhancement charge in the last decade. The office said providing the data would take “a very substantial expenditure of agency resources for little public benefit,” so it proposed a smaller set of data that includes basic case information. That smaller set would still cost $1,354, though.
We are seeking information about when prosecutors accuse people with committing crimes for the benefit of street gangs. Prosecutors have used the charge in controversial cases recently, so we want to examine its use in the last decade.
Since we published our story Tuesday, other San Diego journalists have also contacted me about being stonewalled by the District Attorney’s Office in the past.
These comments have been posted online by readers:
Good luck Keegan. This DA’s office is impossibly out of control. I have never seen such arrogance from a public office even when they must know they are wrong. Heck … they even argue against the attorney general. — Bill Paul
Keep after Princess Dumanis. Take it to the Grand Jury. Expose the autocratic management that despises openness and access. — David Cohen
Can you post the details of your data request? I’m a computer engineer that works with large SQL databases on a daily basis. Even ignoring 5.5 hours of “programming time,” 16 hours of running time on a SQL database is utterly absurd. — David Martin
Stay tuned to voiceofsandiego.org and the First Responder blog for more updates on this fight for public records.
— KEEGAN KYLE