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In other words, public records are any documentary materials without regard to their physical form or characteristics, which were used, are being used, or which were retained for use by a “Public Body.”
In the 21st century, this includes not only traditional paper records, but also digital records, including email, websites, social media sites, text messages, databases, and digital video, audio, and photograph files.
Although this provision does not constitute an absolute guarantee, in most instances there is indeed a constitutional right to review these documents.
Section 4.1 of Title 44 was added by Act 882 of 2001, consolidating all exceptions not already included in the Title, referencing appropriate sections from the entire RS.
Finally, Section 13 of Title 44 specifically exempts records of library use and registration and these records are never disclosed by Shreve Memorial Library except when required by subpoena, search warrant, court order, or other legal action.
Any person over 18 has the right to inspect and copy a public record that is not exempt from examination, with the custodian bearing the burden of proof that the record is ineligible for inspection.
Requests to inspect, copy, or otherwise reproduce a public record may be made in person or in writing.
In addition, in the interest of transparency and open access to information, Shreve Memorial Library policy has waived the age requirement for accessing library records, making this option available to everyone.
For written requests, the Shreve Memorial Library requires at least one form of contact information, as well as a specific description of the requested records.
If a record is immediately available and is not actively in use, it must be presented upon request. If a record is not immediately available, it must be made available within three (3) days. If a record is absent from the office, the custodian must certify to the requestor the reason for the absence, current location, individual in possession of the record, and when it was removed from the care of the custodian. The certificate must include detailed answers to any questions posed by the applicant (LA RS 44:34).
If a request is made for a record that may be exempt from inspection, the custodian must made a determination, notifying the applicant in writing within 72 hours of the request.
Section 37 provides that if a custodian or other person hinders a requestor attempting to inspect a public record, that individual shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for the first offense, and shall be put in jail for not less than one month nor more than six (6) months. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the fine increases to not less than $250 up to $2,000 with a jail term from two to six months.
Title 14, Section 132 and 133, provides that whoever commits the crime of first degree injuring public records or filing false public records shall be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years with or without hard labor or shall be fined not more than $5,000. The crime of second degree injuring public records carries an imprisonment term of not more than one (1) year with or without hard labor and/or fines not to exceed $1,000.