WARRICK CO., IN (WFIE) - Appeals court rules in favor of a woman’s father, who petitioned for access to public records from the Warrick County Sheriff’s Department.
On Wednesday, Kenneth Scales won his appeal against the county sheriff’s department for records related to his daughter, Kristy Kelly’s death in 2014. The ruling found the documents are not investigatory records and may not be withheld from public disclosure.
The appeals court stated: “Finding that the documents are not investigatory records as described by our General Assembly, and consequently, that they may not be withheld from public disclosure at the Department’s discretion, we reverse and remand with instructions.”
The appeals court reversed the decision made by the trial court, which ruled the Warrick County Sheriff’s Department could withhold the records pertaining to Kelly’s death. When reversing the trial court’s ruling, the appeals court stated the sheriff’s department did not meet the criteria to show the records being sought by Scales fell under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (APRA).
“Because the department has failed to meet its burden to show that the documents Scales sought fell under the APRA’s investigatory records exception, its invocation of this exception fails as a matter of law. We reverse the trial court’s order and remand with instructions to enter judgment in Scale’s favor,” ruled the appeals court.
The body of the 27-year old Kelly was was found in 2014 inside her car at the bottom of a Warrick County lake. Her case files were sealed shortly after the Sheriff’s Department declared her death an accident.