PBSA v. Jones


Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (2)

Topics and Issues

Court records (1)

Public Records (4)

In an amicus brief to the Arkansas Supreme Court, filed in June 2020, CDIA urged the Court to “again reiterate that public records should remain open to the public, and to deter courthouses across the state from implementing policies that frustrate such rights of access.” With its amici partners, the Sue Weaver CAUSE, and Coalition for Sensible Public Records Access, CDIA wrote that neither the Bentonville District Court nor any other official can violate the public’s right of access to public-record information as permitted by Arkansas’s FOIA.  The CDIA, Sue Weaver CAUSE, and CSPRA brief was in support of the Professional Background Screening Association.

The case is Professional Background Screening Association v. Jones, where the plaintiff association alleged that the Bentonville clerk used her official position as clerk to impede the background screening process by relying “on a gross misinterpretation” of a Supreme Court order and requiring those people seeking individual court records to pay $5,000, complete a compiled records license agreement, and obtain a compiled records license. Luckily, the trial court agreed with PBSA, and CDIA expects the Supreme Court will affirm that decision.

The court ruled in our collective favor noting, importantly, that “courts have a duty to maximize their resources in order to achieve the goal of easily accessible court records.”