McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Editorials

August 21, 2011

Justice rules in records debate

McALESTER —  

McAlester’s own state Supreme Court justice recently went against the majority on the high court, which consists of some of the sharpest legal minds in Oklahoma. We couldn’t be more proud.

The court had been asked to rule on a request by media that would require schools in the state to reveal the birthdates of employees. The media, represented by The Oklahoman and Tulsa World, argued the dates were essential in checking employee backgrounds. For instance, is John Smith, the convicted child molester born Jan. 1, 1956, the same John Smith who cleans the bathrooms at the local elementary school? Without the birthdates, the media argued, there was no way to know for certain.

Officials and unions representing the schools argued against the disclosure, alleging it was an invasion of privacy. In fact, The Advocate, a monthly publication distributed by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, equated the potential release of employee birth dates to “exploitation.”

“The association followed through on this critical issue all the way to the Supreme Court because we believed state employees, who dedicate their lives to public service, should not have their private information released to the press or other individuals,” OPA Executive Director Sterling Zearley told The Advocate.

Obviously, we disagree. But more importantly, so did McAlester’s Chief Justice Steven Taylor. He, along with Justice Yvonne Kauger, dissented in the 7-2 ruling on June 28. In their dissent, the justices said the Legislature has already amended the Open Records Act three times since it went into effect in 1985, and could have added birth dates to the list of closed records, according to the Oklahoma Press Association’s Oklahoma Publisher.

The News-Capital has worked with Taylor for decades. We’ve covered jury trials and other court proceedings over which he presided as an associate district judge — and later as district judge — at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. He opened his office — indeed the courthouse — to us, giving us access to the law library, the courtroom and any public records in his office. Unless public access to a hearing was prohibited by law, he welcomed the public to sit in and watch. He frequently pointed out that the courthouse, after all, belongs to the public, not the employees who work there. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Could the NCAA Tournament work for other sports?

    The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the most profitable postseason in the U.S., so why couldn't other leagues copy its format?

    March 23, 2014

  • Tsarnaev death sentence brings no peace

    If Dzhokhar is found guilty and executed for his alleged role in the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I’ll sleep no better.

    January 31, 2014

  • Final observations from the Pitt 8

    A few observations leftover from an immensely exciting six days of basketball at the Pitt 8 Tournament.

    January 26, 2014

  • So far, Big 12 holding its own

    The Big 12 Conference hasn't dominated the 2013-14 bowl season, but its teams have definitely held their own.

    January 3, 2014

  • Fins’ Incognito deserves banning

    No matter the job, a line still exists between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between behavior that creates a productive work environment and a hostile one, and Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito crossed that line in his treatment of Jonathan Martin.

    November 11, 2013

  • Sox prove ‘team’ still matters

    In winning the World Series, the Red Sox proved that the right manager and the right locker room atmosphere can turn a bunch of nobodies into champions.

    October 31, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: Be proactive on cyberbullying; Obamacare stumbles

    Parents everywhere must be rejoicing, because a new poll suggests that cyberbullying among students seems to be decreasing. / Every new program is bound to have a few glitches. But what’s happening right now with the nation’s new health insurance program and online signup efforts is disturbing.

    October 29, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: School lunch lessons; D.C. focuses on box scores

    Instead of refusing a now-nutritious National School Lunch Program, schools, parents and students should embrace the healthier standards / A box-score mentality - with too much emphasis on winners, losers, scores and assists - afflicts Washington with little concern for those who buy the tickets.

    October 25, 2013

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
NDN Video
Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.