Albuquerque freelance reporter files suit over New Mexico Open Records Act

Peter St. Cyr, a local Albuquerque freelance reporter filed suit against outgoing Gov. Bill Richardson and select members of the administration for failure to provide access to public records in a timely manner or as soon as possible.
The suit relates to the inspection of records related to pardon requests sent to the Governor’s office.
New Mexico Official Records Custodian Marcia Maestas in several email exchanges with St. Cyr, said that the records search request were “to be broad and burdensome. As such, we will need additional time to respond to your request.”
In published reports where these emails were available to, the governor’s office even got into the act.
After St. Cyr was serving copies of the suit and summons, the Governor’s Communications Director Alarie Ray-Garcia, released a written statement to the press:
“Mr. St. Cyr’s allegations are ludicrous. The governor’s office has been working diligently to complete his request and is in full compliance of the law. It’s a shame that he has chosen to the waste the precious time and resources of our judicial system on something so completely unnecessary.”
According to published reports, St. Cyr says the Open Records Act allows immediate or access within a reasonable amount of time.
State Attorney General Office Spokesman Phil Sisneros disagrees and said that record requests take 15 days for a state agency to be able to respond to them.
Sisneros said that if the request is burdensome on the agency that received the request is being made on, they have to send notification saying the agency needs more time.
Sisneros added that there isn’t a set time period that if the request made to an agency is burdensome. “The requests are taken on a case-by-case basis.”
He added that receiving agency decides whether or not the request is burdensome.
St. Cyr, who filed the suit in Second Judicial Court for Bernalillo County said its now in the hands of his attorney, Paul Livingston.


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One thought on “Albuquerque freelance reporter files suit over New Mexico Open Records Act”

  1. Every agency thinks IPRA requests are burdensome. It's time to have a court define what that means. And, the AG's office is wrong thinking every agency automatically gets 15 days. The language in IPRA is clear, it says immediately or as soon as practicable. Hopefully, our complaint will resolve this issue and set case law so citizens and journalists will have quick and full access to government records.

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