July 31, 2018
Finney Law Firm has the honor to represent citizen journalist Patricia Meade before the Ohio Supreme Court in her efforts to expose the workings of her hometown’s government to public scrutiny.
In State ex rel. Meade v. Village of Bratenahl, we are appealing lower courts decisions that permit public bodies in Ohio to vote on any issue by secret ballot. The opportunity for mischief is readily apparent.
The Ohio Supreme Court accepts only approximately 5% of appeals, so just getting the case accepted is a major accomplishment. We are cautiously optimistic that the Ohio Supreme Court will be convinced by our argument and longstanding precedent and overturn the decision of the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals.
Today we filed our merits brief. Read the brief online here or below. We expect that one or more “friends of the court” (interest groups or others who are not a party to the case, but are concerned with the outcome) will also file a brief in support of our position (an amicus brief) in the coming days. The village will have thirty days to file their own brief, and then we will have fifteen days to file a reply.
This case is an important case for all Ohioans, as it will determine what, if any, information the people are entitled to know about how their elected officials vote on particular issues and whether citizens will have an ability to hold their elected officials accountable for their official action.
View all case filings on the Ohio Supreme Court website, here.
We expect the Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case sometime in early 2019.
Update – The Ohio Coalition for Open Government, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters filed an amicus brief today in support of our position. Read their brief here.