States brief ~ CT Supreme Court orders town to release aerial photos, maps to public

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the Connecticut Supreme Court [official website] ruled today that the town of Greenwich must release its computer database of aerial photographs and maps to the public. The Supreme Court rejected the town's argument that the records were exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act because the release of detailed information about the town's infrastructure, schools and homes could lead to security breaches and privacy invasions. In its opinion [PDF text], the court said "Such generalized claims of a possible safety risk do not satisfy the plaintiff's burden of proving the applicability of an exemption from disclosure under the act." AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack [official website] has signed into law [press release] what he calls the "toughest sex offender bill in the country." The bill [text] doubles the maximum prison sentence for a lascivious act with a child to ten years, sets the sentence for a second sex abuse conviction at life in prison without parole and requires all sex offenders to be supervised after their release from prison, with offenders who committed a felony being supervised for life. The bill also calls for an update of the state's sex offender registry and the building of a DNA database. The new measure is expected to cost 5.4 million dollars in the next budget year and becomes effective on July 1. The Quad-City Times has local coverage.

  • New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has reached an agreement in principle with web marketer Intermix Media. Intermix has agreed to pay 7.5 million dollars over three years and to stop the distribution of its adware, toolbar and "redirect" programs that automatically redirect consumers to an advertising page. Spitzer filed suit in April charging Intermix with secretly installing software that delivers pop-up advertisements or similar promotions. The final agreement is two to three weeks away and must be approved by the court. Read the Intermix press release on the settlement. AP has more.

  • Exxon Mobile Corporation has asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to consider a land contamination case in which it was ordered to pay 219 million dollars in damages and remediation costs. A Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear the case [AP report] after lowering the initial $1 billion verdict against the company to $219 million. In papers filed with the Supreme Court, Exxon said the costs it was ordered to pay are greater than the value of the land and "millions of dollars more than needed for remediation to protect public health and safety." In 2001 a New Orleans jury awarded a landowner who claimed an Exxon contractor contaminated his 33-acre property 1 billion dollars. AP has more.

 

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