Landmark Asks Palm Beach State's Attorney to Preserve Limbaugh Documents


Mr. Barry Krischer

State Attorney
Palm Beach County
401 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

Mr. Steve Yeaw
Custodian of Records
Palm Beach County
401 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

BY FIRST CLASS MAIL AND FACSIMILE

Re: Request for Preservation of Requested Public Records

Dear Messrs. Krischer and Yeaw:

This letter is in furtherance of Landmark Legal Foundation's ("Landmark") January 15, 2004 request for public records pursuant to the Florida Public Records Act, Ch. 119, Florida statutes.

Landmark is concerned that your office is not taking the appropriate steps to identify, gather and preserve the information Landmark seeks, given a statement by your spokesman, Michael Edmondson, to the Palm Beach Daily News (January 16, 2004). Mr. Edmondson reportedly stated:

Investigative intelligence would not be public record, including staff or assets assigned to an investigation.

Landmark has made clear that it does not seek investigative intelligence information. However, it is not for Mr. Edmondson or you to make final determinations on what constitutes investigative intelligence. That decision is left to a court.

Although Landmark has yet to hear from you or your delegate about its request, Mr. Edmondson's public statement suggests that your office has already decided to take a very broad view of the investigative exemption under Florida's public records statutes, and apparently plans to withhold much of the information Landmark seeks. Landmark hopes this is not the case. But it does appear more likely that this matter will wind up in court.

Given Mr. Edmondson's statement, and in anticipation of litigation, Landmark asks that your office take immediate steps to ensure that the universe of records at issue in Landmark's request are identified, gathered, and secured by your office to prevent the accidental or intentional tampering or destruction of these records. Landmark asks that all routine recycling or shredding of potentially relevant paper documents be ceased, that all potentially relevant computer hard drives not be reformatted or erased, that electronic messages not be deleted, and that any back-up data systems (including, but not limited to, back-up taping systems for email servers) be preserved.

Mr. Edmondson's statement aside, Florida law requires your office to provide with particularity the legal basis for withholding any of the information Landmark seeks, whether, for example, said information is redacted as part of a document, or whether a document is withheld in full. Therefore, an overly broad assertion of an investigative exemption would fail to comply with public disclosure requirements.

Landmark also asks that you provide it with a time certain for responding to its document request, and the identity of the individual or individuals personally responsible for processing Landmark's request. As before, Landmark urges you to give its request expedited consideration and production inasmuch as these records relate to possible prosecutorial misconduct in a pending, high profile investigation.

If you have any questions about Landmark's January 15, 2004 request, or this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me (703-689-2370).

Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Levin
President

Copyright ©2005 Landmark Legal Foundation. All Rights Reserved.