An appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision calling on a local prosecutor to release records and pay a fine.
The Missouri Western District Appeals Court in Kansas City Tuesday affirmed a lower bench decision ordering former Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson to pay a $12,100 civil penalty to Aaron Malin, a plaintiff who filed a lawsuit in 2015 after making Sunshine Law requests.
The Cole County Circuit Court in 2017 levied the fine and ordered Richardson to produce records he had argued were not open to the public.
The lower bench determined that Richardson “knowingly” and “purposefully” violated the Sunshine Law after only partially responding to requests from Malin and his attorney for correspondence between Richardson and a drug task force, and for records of indictments by Richardson relating to narcotic sales in public housing.
The court later ordered Richardson to pay $24,070 to cover Mailin’s attorney.
The appeals court Tuesday denied Richardson’s request that his civil fine be limited to $5,000. It also determined that Malin had not requested information that would have endangered the personal safety of officers and undermined their investigations, as Richardson had contended.
Richardson, a Republican, was defeated in the primary contest while seeking reelection as Cole County Prosecutor last year.