Outer Banks Sentinel: Sunshine Week clouded by withheld records

From the Outer Banks Sentinel (3/13/12): Sunshine Week, a national recognition of the importance of open government and freedom of information, appears to be cloudy over Dare County Courthouse.

The Outer Banks Sentinel’s requests for court documents, emails and letters related to failed attempts to remove Kill Devil Hills Police Chief Gary Britt and District Attorney Frank Parrish from their respective offices have been rebuffed by Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett through his attorney, John Trimpi of the Elizabeth City firm of Trimpi and Nash.

On Feb. 9, the Sentinel emailed the judge’s secretary who routinely handles Tillett’s correspondence, and copied Trimpi who is representing the judge, who was reported to be out of the country at the time.

The email included a public records request for a copy of the order issued by the judge which resulted in copies of seven personnel files of current and former Kill Devil Hills employees being delivered to his office in September 2011. Tillett had responded to an earlier Sentinel request that he couldn’t release the order because of personnel issues.

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