Phoenix, AZ Free Public Records Directory

Commercial purpose does not mean the use of a public record as evidence or as research for evidence in an action in any judicial or quasi-judicial body. For example, ARS says records of confidential informants are not public records. While the legal presumption is that public records are open, common law and court decisions also can be a good guide to exceptions. Arizona case law essentially says that any record that isn't specifically exempted in statute should be released unless an "important and harmful effect" on the agency or an official therein would ensue. Embarrassment does not qualify as a harmful effect.

Even if the document was expected to remain confidential, that alone does not immunize it from disclosure — the agency must prove a harmful effect would result from disclosure. The Arizona Supreme Court, meanwhile, has held that a record may only be withheld if a countervailing privacy or confidentiality interest or the "best interests of the state" outweighs the public's right to know — and the burden is on the party trying to withhold documents to prove the harm that would follow release.

So, that leaves us, theoretically, with records specifically exempted by law from disclosure.

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A rough list of exemptions includes grand-jury records, birth and death records because of identity-theft issues , executive-session documents and minutes, certain records of professional groups deemed by law to be confidential, medical records, certain law-enforcement records, sealed indictments, and certain educational records governed by federal law.

A: The law doesn't address drafts specifically but talks about "permanent public records" being maintained and produced. Does "permanent" mean draft?

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Maybe, maybe not. The law also doesn't specifically define "public record" but says officers "shall maintain all records Bottom line: Some agencies produce them, some don't.

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One way to guide yourself is to consider whether the draft has been disseminated. But you're on more solid ground once the draft has been disseminated to policymakers agency directors, lawmakers, city council, etc. Remember, it's all about what documents are used by the government to do its job. If a document is a vital part of that, you have a good argument for getting your hands on it, because the public has a right to know what business is being conducted by its elected representatives. A: Sometimes. Police agencies generally try to exempt from disclosure any records from an ongoing investigation, but the courts have held that they are not necessarily exempt.

The key is whether production of the record would be detrimental to the "best interests of the state" or harm privacy or confidentiality interests sufficiently to outweigh the public interest. What does that mean in plain English? Basically, if release of the information could ruin a criminal case, expose informants in some way that puts them at risk, etc.

If that can't be shown, then the record theoretically should be produced. That means you can argue for it and engage officials in a discussion by asking for an explanation, in writing, of how the interests of the agency, the case or certain individuals will be harmed. As a practical matter, if an agency doesn't want to let the information go, you'll have to fight for it, and that isn't always practical or financially feasible.

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Use common sense. If you believe you have a clear right to it and it won't hurt the case, then fight for it. If it's an administrative investigation of a public employee, you'll run into similar issues, although there may be added interests involving the rights of employees to due process and privacy.

Often, agencies wait until the merit-system appeals process runs its course before releasing any documents.

Arizona State Records

A: It depends. To withhold information in a file, the agency must show specific and serious harm to the individual or agency resulting from release. Salary, resume and all the other basics are always to be released.

Though state government, by rule, has made all but the basic information from employee personnel files secret, performance reviews of public employees generally are considered a public record. By law, members of governing bodies are allowed to discuss personnel issues behind closed doors, and the minutes are not a matter of public record.

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Comments made in executive session would therefore not often be found in a personnel file. Finance Department City Financial Reports. Phoenix Online Checkbook. Monthly Revenues and Expenses. Neighborhood Services Department Neighborhood Associations. Code Enforcement Case Status Report. Planning and Development Services Permits, Inspections and Certificates of Occupancy.

Permits from to current are available through an online searchable database. Environmental Site Assessment Procedures. Film Permits. Special Event Permits. Wastewater Discharge Permits. Water Bills. Still can't find what you're looking for? Request Other Records Here.

Members of the media are encouraged to visit the Media Resources page. This means that records are not made public; each is kept confidential and is only released to specific parties upon their request. However, once a certain time limit has passed 75 years for birth and 50 years for death certificates , the records become public records. Birth and death records are kept on file at the Office of Vital Records in Phoenix.

Marriage and divorce records, however, are maintained at the county level under the Clerk of the Superior Court.

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How to Obtain Arizona Vital Records Birth records may be requested by the individual named on the certificate if over the age of 18 , the parents named on the certificate, a spouse, grandparents, an adult child, a legal guardian, foster parents, or attorneys or other personnel needing it for a legal matter. Birth records may also be obtained to aid in genealogy research. Requesting parties may apply for the certificate in person, by mail or fax, or in the case of births after , they may request records from the county office. Identification and a fee will be requested.

Death certificate requests are handled much in the same way, with spouses, immediate family members, and attorneys being the primary individuals that can be granted the certificate. Deaths occurring after are kept on file at the county level, as well as the state level. Death certificates may also be requested online.

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Arizona Vital Records and Genealogy Research Arizona vital records are frequently requested by individuals conducting genealogy research on their ancestors. Birth, death, and marriage certificates provide crucial bits of knowledge in determining family connections because they contain detailed information, including full names, important dates, places events occurred, and sometimes even names of other family members and how they are related.

Non-certified copies can be obtained by providing a name and place of birth or death for an individual. As another option, the State of Arizona also offers a genealogy web tool that contains microfilm images of birth and death certificates prior to 75 and 50 years, respectively. Vital records serve an important purpose, both for individuals and for the government.

People need these records for different reasons, such as identification, insurance, or tax purposes.