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  1. #1
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    Dr. Pathak
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    Convicted felons are not entitled to use the Virginia Freedom of Information Act


    The U.S. District Court Judge James Jones ruled that convicted felons are not entitled to use the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. According to the Roanoke Times, James wrote that, “Giving inmates access to the act would lead to frivolous requests that would end up wasting state resources.” He also added that inmates do not have as great a need for government records as ordinary citizens.

    Jones rejected the argument that it is unconstitutional to deny prison inmates access to an act that allows other citizens to seek information from state agencies.



    I think allowing an inmate access to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act would not harm anyone, as the RTI (Freedom of Information) act is designed to be as open and honest with information as possible. Also, inmates should have access to this act because they could have been wrongfully imprisoned, and they should have a right to search for new evidence that could free them. Of course the information being requested by inmates should be monitored and if the court sees necessary, additional exemptions could be added for inmates, but in general most inmates would likely have legitimate requests.


    I think, just because someone is an inmate does not mean that he or she should lose all rights.


    What's the opinion: Should inmates be denied information under Right to Information Act?



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  2. #2
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    No,
    RTI is in essence Fundamental right. If information is denied and the person convicted is innocent how he is going to prove. Even if the person is guilty, the disclose of information will not make any difference as the due process of law is follwed.
    It appears this is a wrong precedent based more on subjective judgement rather than the objective facts.

  3. #3

    Re: Convicted felons are not entitled to use the Virginia Freedom of Information Act


    Convicted felons use Freedom of Information Act all the time in USA, federal prison system. The FOIA of USA only applies to federal government. Most states have their own FOIAs. I am sure the ruling by judge in Virginia was an anamoly.

    There is some contradiction in the news quote. It says US District Court Judge, then it says Virginia FOIA. US District Court implies federal court. It is unusual but not impossible for federal court to rule on a state FOIA case. Moreover federal case law is very clear that federal FOIA can be used by convicted felons.

  4. #4
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    Re: Convicted felons are not entitled to use the Virginia Freedom of Information Act



    The Judge in this case is suffering from a mental block in my opinion. If indeed this is deemed as a "right" and not a "privilege" (such as driving), then it should not be denied from anyone.

    To say something is a right makes it inalienable and therefore should not be denied.

    In the Judge's statement he says that the use of information would basically put more work on the government. It is a fact that working felons also pay taxes and therefore deserve the same use of state services as ever other citizen.

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