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FILED IN MY OFFICE

DISTRICT COURT CLERK


12/10/2015 4:29:14 PM
James A. Noel
Janet Ashley

STATE OF NEW MEXICO


COUNTY OF BERNALILLO
SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT
MUNAH GREEN
Plaintiff,
v.

No. D-202-CV-2015-05680

CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE,
Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF LAW
Plaintiff seeks to enforce her right to obtain public records from the City of Albuquerque
(City), pursuant to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA). NMSA 1978,
14-2-1 et seq. On the evening of March 22, 2015, Plaintiffs 17 year old son, Jaquise Lewis,
was shot and killed by a presently unknown person at the Los Altos Skate Park in Albuquerque,
New Mexico. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) conducted an investigation and
gathered information, including records and a video from a private citizen. Plaintiff obtained
counsel and pursued an April 10, 2015 IPRA request for information related to the shooting so
that she might better understand what happened to her son. The City advised Plaintiff on April
13, 2015, that it was reviewing the request to determine what records would be responsive to it,
and to determine whether any exception applied to disclosure.
On or about April 27, 2015, the City decided that it would claim the law enforcement
exception of NMSA Section 14-2-1 (A)(4), but the City failed to provide Plaintiff with notice of
its intention to deny the records request based on that exception until June 11, 2015.
Nevertheless, on May 8, 2015, the City held a press conference in which it released thirteen (13)
selective screen shots from the video taken by a private citizen. In addition, on June 22, 2015, the

City allowed Plaintiff and her mother to view and inspect the entire video, but the City did not
provide Plaintiff a copy. On November 18 and 19, 2015, the City released the bulk of the
documentary evidence that Plaintiffs attorney had requested on April 10, 2015, although the
City immediately demanded return of some of these records with sensitive witness identifying
information.
Under Board of Comrs of Dona Ana County vs. Las Cruces Sun-News, our courts
recognize that [e]very citizen has a fundamental right to have access to public records. 134
N.M. 283, 76 P.3d 35 (2003). Our courts have further found that [t]he citizens right to know is
the rule and secrecy is the exception under the Public Records Act. Gordon v. Sandoval
CountyAssessor, 130 N.M. 573, 28 P.3d 1114 (2001). The City, as the responding governmental
entity under IPRA, had the burden to show good reason for nondisclosure. City of Farmington v.
The Daily Times, 146 N.M. 349, 210 P.3d 246 (2009).
The City in this case failed to meet its burden of demonstrating a credible reason for
nondisclosure. Although the City asserted the law enforcement exception, this assertion is
contradicted by its behavior in disclosing parts or all of the documents and video sought to be
protected.
THE VIDEO DISCLOSURE. On the video tape, the City made still shot photos available
to the media at the May 8, 2015 press conference. On June 22, 2015, the City allowed Plaintiff
and her mother to view the entire video. This behavior by the City is inconsistent with its
claimed interest in protecting disclosure of the video tape recording. In addition, the video did
not originate with the City, but rather was taken by a private citizen. Although the evidence did
not address whether the citizen retained a copy of the video on his recording devicea fact that
would further discredit the claim of privilegeit is questionable whether the City can assert a

privilege against a video not recorded by one of its officers. On balance, the Citys piecemeal
disclosure of the contents of the skate park video discredit a legitimate claim of the law
enforcement exemption, and it is therefore rejected.
DOCUMENTARY DISCLOSURE. The same conclusion applies with regard to the
claim that the law enforcement exemption applies to the inadvertent documentary disclosure.
The record suggests that the City disclosed most, if not all, of the requested records on
November 18 and 19, 2015. Disclosure waives the claim of privilege under IPRA. The evidence
showed that the City Attorneys Office disclosed the bulk of the records, and quickly sought to
have some of the documents returned. Upon that disclosure, the City clearly demonstrated that
the claimed assertion of the law enforcement exemption was neither genuine nor justified. The
disclosure also supports the Citys waiver of privilege.
The Citys behavior, as in the case of the video, discredits its continued claim of the law
enforcement exemption to the questioned documents. The peoples fundamental right to have
access to public records, 134 N.M. 283, 76 P.3d 35 (2003), is too important a right to be
eviscerated by bureaucratic ineptitude and delay. For these reasons, the City is hereby ordered to
disclose the requested records, as stated in the Courts Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
entered contemporaneously with the filing of this memorandum.