Rule 123 Arizona
In London v. Broderick, 206 Ariz. 490, 80 P.3d 769 (2003) the Arizona Supreme Court implicitly recognized that requests for judicial records are governed by Rule 123 and reaffirmed the constitutionality of Rule 123 as recognized in Rule 123(a).
Rule 123(a) provides: "Pursuant to the administrative powers vested in the Supreme Court by Article VI, Section 3, of the Arizona Constitution, and the court's inherent power to administer and supervise court operations, this rule is adopted to govern public access to the records of all courts and administrative offices of the judicial department of the State of Arizona."
The Supreme Court held that the application of Rule 123 to the courts achieves the same purpose as the Public Records Law does for other government offices by implementing "the public's interest in seeing that the courts perform efficiently and effectively by providing access to court records." Id. at 493, P 8, 80 P.3d at 772.
Compare A.R.S. 39-121 ("Public records and other matters in the custody of any officer shall be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours.") with Rule 123(c)(1) ("The records in all courts and administrative offices of the Judicial Department of the State of Arizona are presumed to be open to any member of the public.").
Consistent with application of the public records statutes, the court held that at times, "the benefits of public disclosure must yield to the burdens imposed on . . . the government" by such disclosure requests. London, 206 Ariz. at 493, P 9, 80 P.3d at 772.
"Such circumstances have spawned common-law limitations on public disclosure to protect privacy interests, confidential information, and certain governmental interests." Id.
These limitations on public disclosure allow for withholding of documents if there are "sufficiently weighty reasons to tip the balance away from the presumption of disclosure and toward non-disclosure." Id.
Rule 123(c)(1) mirrors the limitations placed on public records requests under the public record statutes by providing "in view of the possible countervailing interests of confidentiality, privacy or the best interests of the state, public access to some court records may be restricted . . . ." Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 123(c)(1).
Under that rationale the rules restrict access to administrative records 4 and bar requests that would impose an undue financial burden, are duplicative or harassing or substantially interfere with court operations. Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 123(f)(4)(A)(i)-(iv).