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County settles mishandled public disclosure request


 Shari Ireton, Director of Communications, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, 425-388-3377, Media line: 425-249-6263

EVERETT, Wash. – Snohomish County has reached a settlement in a civil case regarding a mishandled public records request made to the Sheriff’s Office.  The claim was brought by the sister of Marilyn Mowan, a 62 year-old woman who died at the jail in September of 2014.

The request was for video from the jail of Mowan’s entire incarceration. Instead, however, the jail’s public disclosure unit employee provided the requester with video of only a small portion of time immediately surrounding the time of her death.

This is the second settlement the county has made in less than a year because of a records request that was mishandled by jail staff. Since 2014 the Sheriff’s Office has taken significant steps in overhauling the public records request fulfillment process, as well as making staffing changes in the jail’s public records request unit.

The Sheriff’s Office receives and processes more than half of all public disclosure requests made to the county each year.

The Snohomish County Council authorized this $250,000 settlement this morning.