Tribune, lawyer to get commendation - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Tribune, lawyer to get commendation

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Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 10:18 am | Updated: 2:46 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Tribune and an attorney will receive special citations for commitment to freedom of information for court victories in cases regarding access to a Scottsdale officer’s personnel files and a settlement agreement between Williams and its former police chief.

The Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will honor the Tribune and attorney Dan Barr, of Scottsdale, on March 18 with a Special Citation of Merit.

In the Tribune’s case, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Jones determined last March that city officials acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner by refusing to allow examination of the performance evaluation of former officer Kevin Baxter. As a result, the court ordered Scottsdale to pay the Tribune’s attorneys’ fees.

Baxter was convicted of several felonies and imprisoned in connection with a May 2004 alcohol-related hit-andrun crash in which an off-duty sheriff’s deputy was maimed.

Barr, of the Phoenix firm Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, and the Arizona Daily Sun of Flagstaff will also be honored for a court victory won by Barr in January in Coconino County Superior Court.

There, Barr won for the Daily Sun the right to access to a settlement agreement between Williams and its police chief, Frank Manson.

Manson resigned last May after he alleged that members of the Williams City Council violated Arizona’s Open Meetings Law and its conflict-ofinterest statutes in voting about the Grand Canyon Railway.

Judge Dan Slayton awarded the Daily Sun its attorneys’ fees after finding that Williams officials acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner in refusing to allow the newspaper access to the settlement.

The awards will be presented at SPJ’s annual Freedom of Information Awards banquet in Phoenix. For information, go to

www.spj.org/arizona.

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