Justice Denied

2018-08-06T10:44:01+00:00 Vol. 2, Issue No. 5|
Updated: 08/06/18

Photo: The Twin Towers Alliance

An appeal brought by a group of dedicated 9/11 family members was denied last week by the Appellate Division of New York Superior Court. The group’s Freedom of Information request for the contact information for all of the victims’ next of kin was denied by the City on privacy grounds. But before pursuing the release under the Freedom of Information Law, the families’ attorney had asked the City to facilitate the contact by doing the mailing themselves at the group’s expense. The Administration’s refusal to do that is hard to justify. What is the City’s interest in preventing a meeting of the minds on such a critical matter?

In a little over 400 words, the five justices unanimously affirmed the decision to exempt from disclosure the contact information for the 2,749 victims’ next of kin. Anyone who reads the brief that was filed by the city’s — perhaps the nation’s — preeminent civil rights attorney, Norman Siegel, has to ask themselves why so many of his arguments and objections were ignored. In their effort to protect the privacy of the family members, whose information once disclosed would be in the public domain, the justices effectively violated their superior right to have a real say in deciding where the unidentified remains of the September 11, 2001, attack on America will be laid to rest.

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