Dearborn County Prosecutor
215 W. High St.
Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025
Dearborn County Attorney
755 N. State Street
P. O. Box 552
North Vernon, IN 47265
July 12, 2010
Re: Public Record Request Denial from Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard
Dear Public Officials:
Please see the enclosed letter and attachments, dated July 7, 2010 (postmarked July 9, 2010), from Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard. Mr. Negangard’s letter was in response to my request for the records pertaining to the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit investigation of my internet writings. I am writing this letter in an attempt to resolve the matter in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.
Mr. Negangard’s July 7 letter states, “Pursuant to Indiana Law, Investigatory records are confidential and are not to be disclosed.” Mr. Negangard also wrote, “I have enclosed a copy of the statute for your review.” Mr. Negangard cites the following statute:
IC 5-14-3-4(b) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (a), the following public records shall be excepted from section 3 of this chapter at the discretion of a public agency:
(1) Investigatory records of law enforcement agencies.
According to Mr. Negangard’s reference information, pursuant to Indiana Law, ALL Investigatory records are subject to release at the discretion of the public agency; provided the information in the Investigatory records is not excepted from release per IC 5-14-3-4(a). It appears that Mr. Negangard does not understand the statutes regarding the release of Investigatory records or Mr. Negangard is trying to deceive me. I feel quite confident that Mr. Negangard is aware the Indiana Law does NOT prohibit the release of Investigatory records. IC 5-14-3-2(h) defines "Investigatory record" as “information compiled in the course of the investigation of a crime.” Indiana case law clearly establishes that public records under IC 5-14-3-4(b) are subject to disclosure. The Indianapolis Star vs. The Trustees of Indiana University, May 2, 2003, states:
Section 3 of APRA provides, “Any person may inspect and copy the public records of any public agency during the regular business hours of the agency, except as provided in section 4 of this chapter.” Ind. Code § 5-14-3-3(a) (Burns Code Ed. Repl. 2001). Section 4 in turn sets forth several exceptions to the disclosure requirement of section 3. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-4 (Burns Code Ed. Supp. 2002). Section 4(a) sets forth mandatory exceptions to public access, and section 4(b) sets forth exceptions which may be invoked at the discretion of the public agency.
Mr. Negangard is well aware that the release of Investigatory records is a discretionary matter as the release of Investigatory records to the public is sometimes necessary to protect the public and/or solve crimes (i.e. records of robbery surveillance videos, information warning the public of criminal scams, records to protect the public from child predators, etc…) I find the situation rather disturbing given that the information that I am requesting may have an impact on the current complaint against Mr. Negangard that I filed with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Given the circumstances, it would be unethical for Mr. Negangard to have the final say in deciding whether to release public records if it appears that the records have the potential to negatively impact Mr. Negangard.
As Prosecutor Negangard’s denial was based on a non-existent Indiana law prohibiting the release of Investigatory records, I would expect Dearborn County/Aaron Negangard to release the records immediately. If Dearborn County/Aaron Negangard refuses to grant my public records request, I will file an action to compel Dearborn County/Aaron Negangard to release the records per IC 5-14-3-9(e) and place the burden of proof on Dearborn County to argue that releasing the details of an investigation of my public writings would be harmful to me or the public. As the matter may involve unethical conduct on the part of the Prosecutor’s office and/or other Dearborn County officials, I will be requesting that the matter be transferred to a court of a different county as I feel that it would be improper for a Dearborn County judge to rule on a matter that may incriminate the Dearborn County prosecutor’s office as it would have the potential to negatively impact past and current court cases. If the release of the records reveals any unethical conduct on the part of Dearborn County officials, then I will be taking legal action. Any attempts by Dearborn County to further obstruct my access to the records, will only cause me further harm. Given that Prosecutor Aaron Negangard has already provided me with false information in his denial of my request for public records, any further attempts to hinder my access to the records will be viewed as acts of malicious obstruction.
 Examples of public records excepted under IC 5-14-3-4(a) are medical records; records containing trade secrets; social security numbers; a photograph, a video recording, or an audio recording of an autopsy, etc…