PRESS BRIEFING TODAY: Vermont Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Police Body Camera Footage Case

CONTACT Justin Silverman | 774.244.2365 |

The New England First Amendment Coalition will join other media and open government groups today for a press briefing at the Vermont Supreme Court, 111 State Street in Montpelier.

The briefing will immediately follow arguments in a lawsuit brought by ACLU of Vermont that seeks the release of Burlington police body camera footage, among other records. Arguments begin at 11 a.m. The case was filed on behalf of ACLU client, Reed Doyle, whose request to inspect available records from a police use-of-force incident was denied.

NEFAC — along with the Vermont Journalism Trust and the Vermont Press Association — filed an amicus curiae brief in the case earlier this year. The primary issue in the case is whether government agencies may charge record requesters for inspection of public records, including body camera footage. In their brief, NEFAC and fellow amici wrote:

“The right to inspect as a part of the right to access agency documents and records is an indispensable component of the journalistic process. It is through the free and open examination of records that journalists can sift through voluminous details and independently gather key information and facts about an emerging story.”

Read amicus brief here.

Read case information and documents here.

NEFAC regularly advocates for open data and the public’s right to know in each New England state. Most recently, the coalition provided guidance on public court records in Vermont and Maine, opposed legislation in Connecticut to keep criminal evidence secret and opposed limits on camera use in Vermont courtrooms.

NEFAC was formed in 2006 to advance and protect the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment, including the principle of the public’s right to know. We’re a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of an informed democratic society. Our members include lawyers, journalists, historians, academics and private citizens.

Our coalition is funded through contributions made by those who value the First Amendment and who strive to keep government accountable. Please make a donation here.

Major Supporters of NEFAC include the Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the Barr Foundation, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, The Boston Globe, WBUR and Boston University.