A judge granted a temporary restraining order against Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer Wednesday, preventing him from deleting emails.
Grant County Circuit Court Judge William D. Cramer Jr. ruled in favor of Oregonian Publishing Company and reporter Les Zaitz, who filed a motion July 22 requesting the temporary restraining order against Grant County Sheriff’s Office, employee Sally DeFord and Palmer, while awaiting the court’s action on a May complaint seeking an injunction requiring Palmer to disclose certain emails.
Cramer said there is a “strong likelihood” Palmer will eventually be ordered by the court to turn over a number of emails to satisfy the plaintiffs’ public records request and that requiring the preservation of all emails related to the case did not seem overly burdensome on the sheriff’s office.
He said, however, there was a clear possibility of irreparable injury to the plaintiffs if emails that should have been disclosed were already deleted. He ordered the sheriff’s office to temporarily preserve all emails in whatever form they currently exist, whether electronic or printed copies, until a future court action on the matter.
Attorney Brad Daniels, on behalf of the plaintiffs, claimed in the request for the restraining order that it is the sheriff’s office’s “pattern and practice to delete all electronic copies of emails from the email accounts that they use to conduct the public’s business.”
On behalf of Palmer, DeFord and the sheriff’s office, attorney Zachary Hostetter claimed the defendants followed preservation guidelines in a state archives email manual and maintained printed copies of emails that needed to be retained.