Tuesday, November 02, 2004

SJC hears arguments today in Cape paper's suit against sheriff

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court hears arguments today on whether the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office on Cape Cod is required under public records law to release the identities of more than 200 reserve deputy sheriffs appointed by Sheriff James Cummings since 1999, the Cape Cod Times reports.

The reserve deputies, as members of the nonprofit, charitable Barnstable County Deputy Sheriff's Association, have a right to privacy, the sheriff argues. They have no law enforcement training or power, the sheriff contends, performing fund-raising and charitable work on behalf of the sheriff for senior citizen and youth groups.

The Cape Cod Times filed the lawsuit last year when Cummings declined to release the names. It maintains the sheriff also has the ability to call the reserve deputies to active duty. It says the public has a right to know who was appointed by the sheriff and allowed to carry badges as reserve deputies.

According to the report in the Cape Cod Times, The Boston Herald recently filed a similar lawsuit seeking the names of reserve deputies in Middlesex County.

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