The opening brief was filed March 31, 2003, and DELJIS representatives immediately filed a notice to cross-appeal.
We've examined our experience in the DELJIS case and found some practical advice to share with other journalists confronting similar challenges in trying to obtain access to government data.
The News Journal began in the early 1990's to request electronic copies of 10 years of records including felony, misdemeanor and traffic cases from the DELJIS database.
Since 1997, DELJIS has attacked our requests for release of data on several fronts.
The DELJIS board initially approved the amended request, but a month later the board reversed itself after being urged by the attorney general to go back to court to challenge the linking of data.
Reporters and editors also described to the court the process we use when we obtain legal information about a particular defendant or prisoner, and reporters helped to research work done by other organizations that had been granted access to DELJIS data.
To try to prevent newspaper access to computer databases, the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System (DELJIS) has argued that:
That record, along with age, race, gender and geographic details, make it possible to cross-reference data fields with information appearing in newspapers such as The News Journal and other public databases to identify, by name, individuals in the DELJIS database.