Statement of Stan Tiner
Executive Editor, Sun Herald
December 27, 2013
It has been a long, arduous, unnecessary and costly battle in behalf of returning the public's records to the public.
Justice has prevailed, and the public's faith in the rule of law has been restored.
Mississippi is a state whose leaders too often try to shield its citizens from the truth of government, including records as fundamental as those collected in the ordinary conduct of public business, such as the many boxes of state Department of Marine Resources records that have been returned to a courtroom in Gulfport.
And though some public officials worked zealously to prevent that return, two judges -- one in the state chancery court and the other a U.S. District judge -- listened to and read the arguments presented and ruled in favor of returning these records to their proper place -- ultimately the DMR -- and to the public domain.
More than a year ago, reporters for this newspaper began the rigorous task of digging for information that would help to reveal activities within the DMR that raised serious questions about the spending of a large sum of public money.
That pursuit has not ended. On Monday, Dec. 30, those reporters will begin the task of poring through the records in all of those boxes, looking for information that is thus far unknown to us.
We are grateful for the justice that has delivered the records to us, and the public, and for the privilege we enjoy in this nation to practice the First Amendment that the Founding Fathers gave to us.