Nevada court says public records on private devices are open

March 30, 2018

FILE- In this Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, the Supreme Court of Nevada prepares to hear arguments at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas. A public employee's personal devices are open to public inspection under the state's public records laws, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday, March 29, 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court says public employee emails and cell phone communications are public records, even if they are stored on personal cellphone and computer devices.

The state high court ruled unanimously Thursday that a group of Lyon County residents can obtain records reflecting decision-making by Lyon County commissioners about a Comstock Mining land-use request in January 2014.

The court says a state court judge in Lyon County will have to determine whether the requested records concern “the provision of a public service.”

Commissioners in the northern Nevada county are issued county email addresses to conduct public business, but are not issued county cell phones or computers when they take office.

The ruling overturns a decision by a judge in Lyon County, who decided in 2016 that the records weren’t public because the personal phones and computers weren’t paid for by taxpayers.

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