In the case of The Council of the City of New Orleans vs. Tracie Washington and the Louisiana Justice Institute, the city council failed to confiscate LJI's computers, hardware, and network for examination.
The Honorable Judge Lloyd Medley Jr. heard arguments from LJI's counsel, Clarence Roby, and the City Council's attorney as well as the City Attorney in his courtroom this morning. Attorneys from the opposition requested that the court order LJI to relinquish possession of LJI's computers, emails, and server. In addition, the opposition also requested that the court order LJI to turn over any and all information obtained as a result of LJI's legal and valid public records request filed on December 3, 2008.
Judge Medley ruled that LJI is not responsible for turning over any information to the City Council. In turn, Judge Medley ruled that the information received via the public records request be turned over to him in camera for his team of legal clerks to determine if any of the information could be deemed privileged.
Rebuffed, opposing counsel made a final attempt to discredit the integrity of LJI by requesting that the court bar our organization from altering any metadata pertaining to the information that was received. Judge Medley declined to do so, saying that LJI and its counsel had complied to each of the court's requests and he has no reason to believe that LJI would not continue to act in good faith.
From the entire LJI family, we thank our local, state, and national network of advocates and friends who have offered their support via telephone messages, emails, and who appeared in court this morning en masse. Our friends and allies packed the courtroom and spilled out into the adjoining hall.
This is not LJI's fight alone. It is a battle over free and open access to our government and our ability to hold elected officials accountable. The City Council and the City of New Orleans attempted to stifle our voices. So far, they have failed. This fight is far from over. LJI will continue to resist the government's attempt to raid our offices and our computers to examine our work product and, more importantly, the files of our clients and partners.
Stay tuned as we continue to update you on the progress of these proceedings.
Yours in the struggle,
The LJI Family