A Franklin County judge will have to take another look at whether personal information and jail employee personnel records can be withheld from a convicted arsonist.
The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Court of Appeals incorrectly ruled in June 2011 that inmate Allan Parmelee's identity be considered when determining whether to grant his public records request, and sent the case back to Franklin County for reconsideration.
Parmelee is known for filing public records requests to apparently harass judges, lawyers and corrections officers. He claims he wants the records because he is a freelance journalist investigating corruption.
In 2008, Parmelee made 81 separate requests to the Franklin County sheriff's office, jail and prosecutor for names, gender, age, race, job title, pay rate, training records and photos of guards and staff, court documents said.
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At the time of the records requests, Parmelee was imprisoned at Aberdeen's Stafford Creek Corrections Center because of a 2004 conviction for two counts of first-degree arson, according to court records. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison for firebombing cars owned by two attorneys who had opposed him and an acquaintance in court proceedings.
He never has been jailed in Franklin County.
The county has argued that Parmelee's requests are harassment in violation of the purpose of the state's Public Records Act, according to court documents.
State law allows the courts to permit agencies to refuse to release documents in such requests, but only since the Legislature changed the law in 2009 -- while Parmelee's appeal was pending.
The Court of Appeals applied the law change to Parmelee's case retroactively, but the Supreme Court said that was improper.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org