Petition for Writ of Mandamus: APPELLATE PROCEDURE – Appealability/Improper Relief – Petition was improper remedy for incarcerated Petitioner to obtain public records where records custodian informed Petitioner that documents responsive to request were found and would be provided upon payment of costs. The Public Records Act, Florida Statutes § 119.07(1)(a), does not afford indigent prisoners free copies of requested documents or the transportation of an inmate to an area to view public records otherwise available to him. Petition denied. Wright v. Hazatone, No. 10-000024AP-88B (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. October 27, 2010).
NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
BRICE D. WRIGHT,
v. Ref. No.: 10-000024AP-88B
THIS CAUSE came before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by Petitioner Brice D. Wright on June 14, 2010. Petitioner seeks a writ of mandamus commanding Respondent Deanna Hazatone, custodian of records of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, to make available for inspection certain public records. As grounds, Petitioner cites to the Public Records Act (“the Act”), which provides:
Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under the supervision by the custodian of the public records.
Fla. Stat. § 119.07(1)(a). However, the Act does not afford indigent prisoners free copies of documents requested. Smith v. State, 696 So.2d 814, 815 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997) (citations omitted); see also Woodfaulk v. State, 935 So. 2d 1225 (Fla. 5th DCA (2006) (citing Roesch v. State, 633 So. 2d 1, 2-3 (Fla. 1993)). Instead, section 119.07(4) requires the custodian of records to furnish a copy of the records requested upon payment of a fee of up to $.15 per copy.
By letter to Petitioner dated May 20, 2010, Respondent informed Petitioner that documents responsive to his request were found and copies would be provided at a cost of $.15 each plus 1 hour of labor at a rate of $17.47 per hour. In doing so, Respondent satisfied her duty to make available the requested records, and mandamus is not a remedy under these circumstances. Although Petitioner seeks to avoid payment for copies by inspecting the documents, the Act does not require the transportation of an inmate to an area to view public records otherwise available to him.
Therefore, in order to access the requested documents, Petitioner must comply with the instructions set forth in Respondent’s letter responsive to his public records request. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Petition for Writ of Mandamus is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, this _______ day of October 2010.
Original order entered on October 27, 2010 by Circuit Judges Amy M. Williams, Peter Ramsberger, and Pamela A.M. Campbell.
Copies furnished to:
Brice D. Wright #1381237
Lake Correctional Institution
19225 U.S. Highway 27
Clermont, FL 34715-9025
Pro se Petitioner
Public Records Processing Unit
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
P.O. Drawer 2500
Largo, FL 22779