We’re reprinting an editorial on an ongoing dilemma with the state’s Open Records Act.
The editorial first appeared in today’s edition of the News Tribune in Tacoma, and the impetus behind it is an effort by state Attorney General Rob McKenna to curb abuses of the state’s sunshine laws by prison inmates.
Turns out that one of the worst abusers is Ricky Young, the former Prosser resident serving a life sentence for killing Franklin County Superior Court Judge James Lawless with a mailed pipe bomb in 1974.
During a five -month period in 2005, Young made 788 public records requests of the Department of Corrections in an attempt to force officials to transfer him to another prison.
He repeatedly threatened additional requests, McKenna reports. “From now own my RCW 42.17 – Public disclosure Act requests WILL INCREASE IN NUMBER BY A FACTOR OF AT LEAST TEN,” Young said, and bragged about his ability to use the Public Records Act to accomplish his goal. “Give my thanks to the Rocket Scientists who came up with this — I’d never have thought of it, myself,” Young added.
The News Tribune’s editorial board found good reasons to be concerned about McKenna’s proposal for fixing the problem.
There are also plenty of good reasons for stopping the likes of Ricky Young.