WLOS denied access to evidence room inventory by state court officials

WLOS reports: “Late Tuesday, April 24, a request by News 13 for the public release of the results of an audit of the Asheville Police Department’s evidence room” — completed in January — “was denied.” WLOS had joined in a joint effort by multiple media outlets, including Mountain Xpress to acquire the results of the audit.

The independent audit was ordered in April 2011 after a partial, internal audit revealed dozens of pieces of evidence were missing: mostly guns, drugs, and money. The city of Asheville allocated $175,000 in taxpayer money to hire “Blueline Systems and Services” to conduct the audit. The results of that audit were delivered to Buncombe Co. District Attorney Ron Moore in January, but have yet to be made public.

Several media outlets, including News 13 and our partners at Carolina Public Press, requested those audit results under North Carolina’s “Open Records” laws. The belief is that the audit was funded with public money, and goes to the heart of a public safety and public trust issue, therefore it should be released to the public. The district attorney forwarded our request to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and late this afternoon, that office’s legal counsel denied our request citing a section of the law relating to “criminal investigations”. …


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