Posted on Oct 7, 1992 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 92-19
October 7, 1992
Name of County Employee Under Criminal Investigation

[OIP Op. Ltr. No. 05-03 partially overrules this opinion to the extent that it states or implies that the UIPA’s privacy exception in section 92F-13(1), HRS, either prohibits public disclosure or mandates confidentiality.]

Under the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified) (UIPA), the County of Kauai should not publicly disclose the name of a county employee who was being investigated for possible criminal offenses by the Kauai County Police Department. The OIP found that disclosing the identity of a county employee under investigation for possible criminal violations would constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

The UIPA provides that individuals have a significant privacy interest in “[i]nformation identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of criminal law, except to the extent that disclosure is necessary to prosecute the violation or to continue the violation.” Also, federal court decisions indicate that suspects have privacy interests implicated by the disclosure of their names in connection with a criminal investigation. Under the circumstances of this particular case, the OIP found that, under the UIPA’s balancing test, the public interest in disclosure of the employee’s identity did not outweigh the employee’s significant privacy interest in the information.

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