Above the law?

    Since November 2011, I have been involved in ongoing litigation in the Crawford County Circuit Court, wherein my personal freedom is at stake. As is the same for everyone involved in a lawsuit, all evidence benefiting your side is important. The Attorney General of Missouri is refusing to provide evidence I have repeatedly requested.

    The Attorney General, who represents the state in this matter, has evidence on state witnesses which may be crucial to my cause. Following an initial letter simply requesting the information, which was apparently ignored, I submitted a more formal request under the provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law, the state’s version of the Freedom of Information Act.
    Following my Missouri Sunshine Law request, I received a letter from Daniel Hartman, official position unknown, stating that the records “are closed” and therefore would not be provided. The Attorney General of Missouri is tasked with defending citizens’ rights, so it is quite shocking that he refuses to abide by a statute he is sworn to uphold.
    I sent a follow-up letter refining my request and provided reasons why the requested information cannot be legally withheld. This letter went directly to Mr. Hartman, who, according to a copyrighted story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on October 21, 2018, worked on Josh Hawley’s Attorney General campaign and was rewarded with one of the top paying jobs in the agency, although having left law school just four years ago.
    Hartman responded that the requested records should be available by September 21, 2018. After waiting an extra month, I have sent a fourth letter in my quest to gain access to these public records. In the article I mentioned previously, Bernard Rhodes, an attorney interviewed for the article, is listed as representing clients who have had to sue the state over open records disputes.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when the Attorney General of Missouri must be sued in order to force him to obey the same laws he is sworn to protect.
Stan Schell
Farmington, Mo.

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