U Memo 15-5

Posted on Dec 30, 2014 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 15-5
December 30, 2014
911 Recordings

Requester made a request for copies of Kauai Police Department (KPD) records related to an incident in which an individual stabbed a number of people, killing one, before a KPD Officer shot and killed him. The issue in this appeal was whether the UIPA’s “privacy” exception at section 92F-13(1), HRS, protects the 911 recordings of the incident from public disclosure.

OIP first recognized that, based on evolving legal trends, deceased individuals retain some privacy interests in information about them after death, and that personal contact information of deceased individuals involved in the incident need not be disclosed. Deceased victims also have privacy interest in their health information; however, OIP found that here, the deceased victim’s medical information was already protected via the privacy interests of her surviving family members.

For surviving victims, because the incident was widely reported, some information that would otherwise carry significant privacy interests was found by OIP to be public. Nevertheless, for surviving victims, OIP concluded that detailed health information about them during and after the incident as contained in the 911 recordings is protected from public disclosure under the privacy exception. Personal contact information for those involved is also protected under the privacy exception.

Finally, OIP found that the recordings of telephone calls made to the 911 operator by the adult daughter of the deceased victim are protected from disclosure under the privacy exception when the recordings clearly conveyed the extreme distress of the daughter, who was with her dying mother. OIP was persuaded by federal law to conclude that disclosure would cause a disruption of the peace of mind of the surviving family members and would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.