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Asheville Citizen-Times: Public records law might require release of Asheville evidence room audit

From the Asheville Citizen-Times (4/21/12): District Attorney Ron Moore will consult with the state attorney general’s office about whether to release a closely-guarded audit of the Police Department evidence room.

Moore has withheld the city-commissioned audit for three months, saying its release could jeopardize a State Bureau of Investigation probe into missing guns, drugs and other evidence.

But in responding to questions and a public records request from the Citizen-Times last week, Moore acknowledged it was unclear whether state law allows him to withhold the audit from the public.

“I will talk to the lawyers at the attorney general’s office,” he said. That will happen this week, Moore said.

Advocates for the documents’ release say doing so is necessary to maintain public trust in the criminal justice system. They also questioned why Asheville officials have not asked to see the audit — paid for with city taxpayer money.

“I would have liked to have seen a City Council member who was much more active in this and expressing much more concern about this,” said Steve Lindsay, a criminal defense attorney. “Especially since it involves the city Police Department.”

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Colin Donohue,
4/23/2012 11:02 AM