Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals misapplies Washington's Criminal Records Privacy Act (CRPA) in determining whether entire files of police investigative information should be available for public review. The plain text and legislative history of the CRPA indicate that the Washington State Legislature intended the CRPA to apply only to the disclosure of criminal history record information, or the data that appears on a subject's criminal rap sheet. Washington courts should interpret the CRPA narrowly, as an exemption to the broad policy of disclosure established by the state's Public Disclosure Act (PDA). This approach would reconcile the two statutes in a manner consistent with Washington State Supreme Court precedent. This Comment argues that the Washington State Supreme Court should curtail Division I's improper application of the CRPA. Specifically, the court should declare that for records subject to public disclosure, the overlap between the CRPA and PDA requires agencies to redact nonconviction criminal history record information while disclosing the remaining record.
Notes and Comments,
Private Rap Sheet or Public Record? Reconciling the Disclosure of Nonconviction Information under Washington's Public Disclosure and Criminal Records Privacy Acts,
79 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol79/iss2/5