“A fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government is that government is the servant of the people and not their master. Accordingly, it is the public policy of the State that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees. Providing persons with the information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officials and employees, whose duty it is to provide the information.” Ind. Code § 5-14-3-1.
The Prosecuting Attorney is a “public agency” under the Access to Public Records Act (hereinafter APRA), Ind. Code § 5-14-3.
By law, any person has the right to inspect and copy the Prosecutor’s public records during regular business hours unless the public records are excepted from disclosure as nondisclosable under the APRA. See Ind. Code §§ 5-14-3-3(a), -4, 4.3.
The Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is a law enforcement agency charged with the responsibility of representing the State of Indiana in all infraction, misdemeanor, and felony cases alleged to have occurred within Hamilton County, Indiana. While the sole loyalty of this office is to the State of Indiana, this office also has the responsibility of protecting the victims of crime and safeguarding victims’ rights.
This office recognizes the competing interests involved in the public’s right to access information maintained by law enforcement agencies, e.g., the people’s right to know, the privacy of victims, the safety of the community and its law enforcement officials. These competing interests must all be part of this office’s decision making process when considering requests for documents. This office will review each request for documents in this context and, where required or at its discretion, will comply with each request pursuant to the applicable sections of I.C. § 5-14-3 and Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct 3.6 and 3.8, which establish a prosecutor’s ethical duties to cases and to extrajudicial dissemination of information.
Policy & Procedure
All APRA requests shall be made in writing and submitted on Form 451495-D - APRA Document Request. See Ind. Code § 5-14-3-3(a)(2). The form must be filled out in its entirety before the Prosecuting Attorney will comply with the request.
However, routine requests for discovery in the course of litigation in which this Prosecuting Attorney represents the State’s interests are controlled via local rules of criminal procedure and other non-APRA law and will be addressed under those rules, accordingly. Further, requests for documents that would have come from other agencies should be directed to those sourcing agencies.