The following statement can be attributed to Rita Bettis Austen, ACLU of Iowa Legal Director.

“The Court's decision today held that Iowans who make complaints about open records violations to the Iowa Public Information Board are not required to intervene in their own cases in order to appeal the Board's ultimate decision about whether they should get the public records they seek to the district court. 

Thus, the Court ruled that a complainant to the Board may seek judicial review of any public records sought and decided on by the Board, excluding any that may have otherwise already been publicly released since the complaint was filed.

This means that our client can continue to pursue, in his litigation in the district court, any of the dashcam, 911 call, and bodycam records that have not been previously released.

This is a case about law enforcement's years-long effort to withhold records regarding the tragic, fatal police shooting of Autumn Steele, an unarmed woman standing just feet away from her child. In a case like this, the public interest in accessing those records is at its apex.

Beyond that important result—allowing our client to seek any so-far unreleased bodycam, dashcam, and 911 records regarding the shooting—the broader ruling is vital to ensuring access to public records, and preservation of due process, for Iowans who file complaints with the Board.

The presumption that government records are open to the public absent a compelling reason for secrecy is a hallmark of democratic government."

For more details about our lawsuit, click here.