Media Coverage

Backed by Ballard Spahr, The Republic Wins Legal Fight Against Department of Corrections

June 9, 2023

When the Arizona Department of Corrections tried to stymie three reporters from The Arizona Republic who were working an in-depth reporting project, the newspaper hired David J. Bodney and Matthew E. Kelley and sought to compel the state to reveal information from its prison management system database.

Eventually, the suit was settled and the Republic obtained "practically all of its demands." The reporting project, "The Prison Sell," brought to light how indentured and neglected prisoners are made to work for private companies in a system that brings the state millions. It was a finalist for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts.

“These are precisely the type of records that Arizona law requires to be open to the public, because they show what the government is doing with the authority and funding the people of Arizona provide,” Mr. Kelley told the Republic. “While it’s disappointing that the department fought to keep these records hidden, this outcome demonstrates that the public’s right to know what their government is doing will prevail.”

Mr. Bodney and Mr. Kelley are members of Ballard Spahr's Media and Entertainment Law Group.

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