The following questions were submitted by The News Gazette (Winchester); The Mail-Journal (Milford), The Corydon Democrat; and Times-Mail (Bedford).
Mechanic’s lien sale notice must be published
Q: Is a public notice advertisement required if an auto repair shop wants to sell a vehicle based on a mechanic’s lien?
A: Yes. The mechanic’s lien sale notice must be published 15 days before the auction. The notice must include a description of the vehicle, including make, mode and manufacturer’s ID number; the amount of the unpaid charges; and the time, place and date of the sale. See I.C. 9-22-6-2.
Rules allow shadowing of judge for bona fide research
Q: Do you remember the statute or administrative code that Marion County Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores noted during the APME Reporter’s Workshop about the ability to shadow a judge for bona fide research?
A: As you know, certain juvenile delinquency proceedings must be open to the public — when the alleged act would be a felony or murder if committed by an adult. As to other juvenile court cases, I.C. 31-32- 6-2 gives the judge the discretion to allow the public to view a proceeding or close it. (If you want permission to take photos or video, you’ll have to apply to the Indiana Supreme Court for permission) As to access to records, again records of certain juvenile delinquency cases will be open to the public. See I.C. 31-39-2-8. For other cases in juvenile court, access can be granted either under:
• I.C. 31-39-2-10 as a person with a legitimate interest in the work of the court or a particular case. Under this provision, you would be free to publish information in those records.
• I.C. 31-39-2-11 as a person in a legitimate research activity. This comes with limitations on what you can publish out of those records you are allowed to access.
Check copyright status before using images from internet
Q: We are putting together a Home Improvement section featuring do-it-yourself ideas. Could we use pictures from Pinterest or Google Images?
A: I would avoid picking up Pinterest images because they may not be posted by the original creator of the art, so you could have a copyright issue. Checking online, I see where Google Images has a process to filter for only images that are free of copyright restrictions, so following that process would allow you to use those images without concern.
Provision allowing redaction of officials’ opinions is discretionary
Q: I recently took over our county beat, and I have requested that I receive information commissioners and council members receive on agenda items, given to them before meetings. Our auditor is confused about what in those packets is and is not public record. If I’m reading the APRA right, anything with factual information is public, and opinion items can be withheld and labeled as deliberative materials? Basically, I just want to be able to help her out so I can get that information prior a meeting I am covering next week.
A: Good to hear the auditor is trying to work with you and not against you. You can let her know that any documents sent out to the commissioners or county council members that are being shared to prepare them for an executive session, can be omitted from the packet she/he prepared for you.
You are correct that there is a provision that would allow the county to redact the portions of reports to the commissioners or council members that express the opinion or is the speculation of the person making the report. But that’s a discretionary provision – the county certainly isn’t required to redact that information from the public view.
I would point out that level of redaction would seem to make a lot of unnecessary work for the auditor because I believe the Public Access Counselor’s office has said that once the reports are presented to the commissioners or council in a public meeting, then that confidentiality provision is in effect waived. The auditor would be redacting documents that as soon as the meeting was completed should be made available without any redaction.
I would urge the auditor act upon the rule of thumb that records presented to the commissioners or council for board preparation should all be made available unless the record is being shared for an executive session discussion.
Send your questions to: Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, email@example.com