Wyoming Attorney General Refuses To Release Richardson, McMurry Records
The Wyoming Attorney General's Office and its Division of Criminal Investigation denied a public records request by a Sheridan man seeking information on the cases about Kristi Richardson and Mick McMurry.
"The release of the records you seek could harm what are active and ongoing investigations," Senior Assistant Attorney General John Brodie wrote to Kim Love' attorney Bruce Moats on Aug. 30.
"Thus, releasing this information at the present time is contrary to the public interest," Brodie wrote. "When the investigations come to a close and there are no matters outstanding, it will be appropriate to assess whether release of the requested materials is appropriate and to what extent."
Brodie's letter was the latest official response to the efforts by Love through his company Lovcom, Inc., to seek the records under the Wyoming Public Records Act about the disappearance of Casper businesswoman Richardson in October 2014 and the suicide of businessman and philanthropist McMurry in March 2015.
On May 30, Love sued the City of Casper and Interim Police Chief Steve Schulz for those records because he questioned whether the police did all it could to investigate the Richard's disappearance, McMurry's suicide, and any possible relationship between the two case.
Love said former Police Chief Jim Wetzel, who was fired May 5, refused to turn over the records.
"Information regarding the potential connections between McMurry and Richardson are not cited to prove any such connections exist, but to explain the public interest in determining whether law enforcement officials have turned over every 'stone' in investigating this long unsolved disappearance," Love's attorney Moats wrote.
But the records weren't available because Schulz turned over the apparently dormant Richardson investigation to the DCI on May 18.
On June 6, Schulz also turned over the records of the closed McMurry suicide case to the DCI.
Since then, Love and Moats successfully asked Natrona County District Court to add the DCI to their case.
But the DCI won't turn over the records, either, according to Brodie's letter.
On Aug. 11, Moats asked the DCI to release the "privilege log," an index of what happened during an investigation and when. Information that poses a risk of interference to an investigation may be withheld, but those exceptions must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Brodie responded in his Aug. 30 letter that he disagrees with Moat's understanding of state law about "privilege logs."
Last week, Moats disagreed with Brodie.
"The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that the custodian must provide a log identifying the records and describing the nature of the information withheld," Moats wrote in a motion demanding the release of the log.
Those who are custodians of a privilege log, now the DCI, cannot withhold a document if they think it fits an exemption, he wrote.
"The log is vital to the resolution of this case as the burden is on the Respondents (the DCI) to show that each record withheld falls within an exemption to public disclosure," Moats wrote.