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Heikkinen v. Kilmartin

Superior Court of Rhode Island

November 18, 2014

WILLIAM HEIKKINEN Plaintiff,
v.
PETER KILMARTIN, In his Capacity as Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island, and HUGH T. CLEMENTS, JR., In his Capacity as Chief of the Providence Police Department Defendants.

Providence County Superior Court

For Plaintiff: Stephen J. Brouillard, Esq.

For Defendant: Lisa A. Pinsonneault, Esq., Malena Lopez Mora, Esq. Michael W. Field, Esq.

DECISION

GIBNEY, P.J.

The Plaintiff, William Heikkinen (Plaintiff), has petitioned this Court for a preliminary injunction—pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 65—seeking to enjoin Defendants, Peter Kilmartin, in his capacity as Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island, and Hugh T. Clements, Jr., in his capacity as Chief of the City of Providence Police Department (collectively Defendants), from disclosing records related to the investigation of PPD Case Number 2014-00010430. See Super. R. Civ. P. 65. In opposition, Defendants contend that Plaintiff has not alleged an appropriate underlying cause of action to support such relief.

I

Facts and Travel

On February 3, 2014, Catherine Muldoon (Muldoon) filed a report with the City of Providence Police Department (PPD), alleging that Plaintiff and two other perpetrators sexually assaulted her on November 21, 2013. As a result of Muldoon's allegations, the PPD generated a "Providence Incident Report" (PIR) and began an investigation. The investigation is memorialized in PPD Case Number 2014-00010430 (the Investigation).

The PPD obtained search warrants and seized the cell phone records, email records, and mobile devices belonging to the Plaintiff and other alleged perpetrators. The PPD extracted the data contained within the mobile electronic devices and prepared reports identifying the information (text messages, emails, digital photographs, video recordings, etc.) contained within the mobile electronic devices.

The PPD turned over the results of the Investigation to the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office, which eventually convened a Grand Jury to consider the Investigation and decide whether or not probable cause existed to charge any or all of the alleged perpetrators with criminal wrongdoing. The Grand Jury reported its findings on August 28, 2014. The Grand Jury reported a "no true bill." Thus, no criminal charges have been filed against any of the alleged perpetrators.

Recently, Muldoon submitted a request to the Attorney General's Office—pursuant to the Access to Public Records Act (APRA)—to release to the public the records arising out of the Investigation. On October 1, 2014, the Plaintiff filed this instant motion seeking to enjoin the Defendants from disclosing the aforementioned documents. On October 2, 2014, this Court held a hearing regarding the Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.

During the hearing, the parties agreed that the Grand Jury transcripts were exempt under Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure 6(e) (Rule 6), and the contents of the cell phones belonging to the three suspects were exempt under G.L. 1956 § 38-2-2(4)(D)(a) and (c) of the APRA. See § 38-2-2(4)(D)(a), (c); Rule 6(e)(2). Furthermore, the Plaintiff had no objection to the release of numerous copies of newspaper articles, a DVD containing the contents of Muldoon's cell phone records, certain credit card information pertaining to her credit card, and her medical records. The parties disagree as to the status of two summaries written by the PPD which detail conversations police officers had with witnesses, a PPD incident report which contained photocopies of photographs taken during the search pursuant to a search warrant (the PIR), and emails concerning the case which were exchanged between the Attorney General's Office and the PPD. During the hearing on October 2, 2014, the Plaintiff renewed his objection for the disclosure of the disputed documents.

II

Standard of ...


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