JEFFERSON – The Marion County Sheriff’s Department (MSCO) failed to meet 10-day deadlines of three Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) requests by the Jimplecute.
This brings the total of missed deadlines to five.
The requests were hand-delivered or sent by certified mail to the MCSO office on June 24, July 1 and July 2 by the Jimplecute.
On Thursday, 19 days have passed since the Jimplecute initially requested “to inspect or obtain” the following on June 24:
1. The names of all persons, their age, place of residence, charge and bond amount who were booked into the Marion County Jail between June 17, 2019 through June 23, 2019.
2. The front page of all incident reports prepared during the period of June 17, 2019 through June 23, 2019.
3. The daily blotter for each day of the period of June 17, 2019 through June 23, 2019.
The Sheriff’s department has also failed to meet the 10-day deadline for a TPIA dated
July 1 “to inspect or obtain”:
1. The names of all persons, their age, place of residence, charge and bond amount who were booked into the Marion County Jail between June 24, 2019 through June 30, 2019.
2. The front page of all incident reports prepared during the period of June 24, 2019 through June 30, 2019.
3. The daily blotter for each day of the period of June 24, 2019 through 30, 2019.
As of the date of this publication, the July 1 TPIA is now 12 days old and two days past due.
Additionally, MCSO has failed to meet the 10-day deadline for TPIA request dated July 2 a list of warrants pending in Marion County. The request was due Wednesday and is now one day past due.
It is the “expectation” of a TPIA request for the documents to be “received” by the requesting agency within the 10-business day deadline.
A person from MCSO telephoned the Jimplecute July 11 saying TPIA requests were available at the jail. She was advised to either mail the information to the Jimplecute office or deliver by hand to 120 N. Vale. The representative responded, “Okay.” However, the documents had not arrived by Jimplecute presstime.
“Telephone calls do not meet the requirements of the request,” Publisher Mica Wilhite said this week.
In a letter dated and mailed June 25, Wilhite informed McKnight, “Please be advised that the Jimplecute is not required to pick up the documents from a location you determine. The custodian of records to whom the request is directed is required by law to deliver them to the requester within 10 business days.”
“USPS is acceptable as is hand delivery. The Jimplecute will no longer respond to phone calls alerting us that requested materials are ready for us to pick up in an effort to show good faith.”
The requests can be answered by email or other electronic means as well as paper.
McKnight informed the Jimplecute June 14, the day after the June 13 telephone call, that he did not want to speak to Wilhite again. The phone interview with McKnight covered a range of topics including his view of his credibility as a trial witness in the future and whether his son was involved in developing the recent ‘Elmer’ Facebook post.
The Jimplecute broke the news June 6 that McKnight had been untruthful when he said the MCSO Facebook page had been hacked. Text messages to Chief Deputy Frank Cason revealed he admitted making the post himself.
The Jimplecute had received previous TPIA requests by walking over to the MCSO office in good faith. Other Marion County and City of Jefferson officials have complied with requests via hand delivery or mail via USPS to the Jimplecute office without exception. MSCO is the only entity that informs the Jimp that the documents are ready for pick-up.
The Jimplecute contacted the Texas Attorney General’s Open Records office to confirm the TPIA requirement for delivery.
“Yes, that is the expectation,” the office representative said before recommending the Jimp submit formal complaints.
“Nobody likes to track and report on documentation at this level of detail, but Sheriff McKnight works for the citizens of Marion County. We report this information so they will be informed about how their MCSO is being managed by its department head,” Wilhite said in late June.
Formal complaints for each of the missed TPIA requests have been filed with the Attorney General’s Open Records office.
A log of all active TPIAs from the Jimplecute to various governmental agencies in Marion County is published on the Classified page of the paper each week and can be seen below.
Prior to May 2, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Jefferson Police Department reported jail logs and call type reports to the Jimplecute on a weekly basis without a TPIA.
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