Davis Wright Tremaine has long been a leader in litigating on behalf of media and concerned citizens to make records available to the public. Here are some of the cases we have been working on pro bono in 2012:

  • On behalf of the First Amendment Coalition, filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice. The suit seeks to compel release of agency documents addressing the legality of targeted killings of U.S. citizens overseas who are believed to be terrorists. The suit was prompted by discussions surrounding the killing of an American-born U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda operative who was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
  • Represented a public records requester in a case where the Court of Appeal affirmed that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District must release documents related to the investigation of a sexual harassment complaint against a high school teacher.
  • On behalf of School of Americas Watch, filed suit to compel the U.S. Department of Defense to disclose names and assigned foreign military units of students, instructors and guest instructors from 2005-2010 at Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as School of Americas). The information is to help determine whether the U.S. is abiding by legal requirements to withhold assistance to foreign police or military units that may be guilty of human rights abuses.
  • On behalf of the Center for Investigative Reporting, filed suit against California’s Department of Public Health, seeking uncensored copies of reports on abuse, poor medical care, and neglect at five state institutions for the developmentally disabled.
  • On behalf of the California Newspaper Publishers Association and other media entities, filed amicus brief in appeal by the California First Amendment Coalition to the state Supreme Court, seeking access to the State Bar of California’s records on bar admissions. Plaintiff and UCLA law professor Richard Sander is seeking to compare performance on the exam among different racial and ethnic groups. The State Bar claims that neither the common law right of access nor the State Constitutional right of access to public records apply to its bar admission data.
  • On behalf of news media entities and the Washington Coalition for Open Government, filed amicus brief with Supreme Court of Washington state. The brief is in support of a TV station’s appeal of a trial court ruling that permits the Seattle Police Department to withhold, for three years, the release of dash-cam videos that capture the interactions between the public and the police.

Full Summer 2012 Pro Bono Report