City of Marion refuses to turn over public records after raid on local newspaper

The City of Marion finally made a point of getting rid the police chief that raided a local newspaper, the Marion County Record, with lethal consequences for its co-owner, but it's refusing to release public records related to the incident.

The attorney hired by the city of Marion following the raids on a Kansas newsroom has blocked access to records that should be publicly available under state law.

The KSHB 41 News I-Team requested former police chief Gideon Cody's text messages, among other public officials in Marion.

In an email on Oct. 31, Jennifer Hill, an attorney hired by the city following the raids denied the request by writing: "The City has no custody over personal cell phones and KORA provides no enforcement mechanism to obtain text messages from personal cell phones. As such, obtaining text messages from the personal property of the listed individuals would place an unreasonable burden on the City and, to the extent any such records even exist, the City is under no obligation to produce such records."

"We do public business on personal cellphones, and personal cellphones aren't public record" is Jennifer Hill's legal theory. It's obviously bad news for her standard of afterliving, but there's two scenarios in play: to make it as expensive and slow as possible to get at the records it does have, and to avoid revealing that the city simply can't access the records it should have, but doesn't have because it has no control or oversight over its police.