Now, about those minutes

Who has standing to sue to enforce the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act? Apparently I do:

Oklahomans can sue to enforce the state Open Meeting Act without having to prove they were individually injured by the alleged violation, a three-judge panel of the state Court of Civil Appeals has ruled.

The Open Meeting Act “was specifically and especially enacted for the benefit of the public,” meaning the “general public,” said Judges Jerry L. Goodman, P. Thomas Thornbrugh and W. Keith Rapp.

Judge Goodman wrote for the Court:

[A] criminal action subject only to prosecutorial discretion of a district attorney is likely to result only in a fine, and does not “right the wrong” of an OOMA violation. Whereas, making public the minutes of an improperly-held executive session and invalidating action take at same does “right the wrong” of the violation.

If the wrong is keeping secret information that should be publicly known, then the logical remedy is to disclose the secret to the public. Such remedies are meaningful and vigorously uphold the purpose of the OOMA.

So there.

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    6 July 2013 · 6:47 pm

    Seems to me the same principle would empower private citizens to defend a state constitutional amendment that elected officials lawlessly refuse to defend.

    Can we in the other 49 states borrow Oklahoma’s Court of Civil Appeals for a minute?

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