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Freedom of Information Act (United States)

The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U. S. C. § 552, is a federal freedom of information law that requires the full or partial disclosure of unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government upon request. The act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures, defines nine exemptions to the statute; the act was intended to make U. S. government agencies' functions more transparent so that the American public could more identify problems in government functioning and put pressure on Congress, agency officials, the president to address them. While the public may be aware of news organizations' use of FOIA for reporting purposes, they make up less than 10% of all requests with businesses, law firms, individuals all being more frequent users. A federal court has concisely described the vital role of the FOIA in democracy: It has been observed that the central purpose of the FOIA is to "open up the workings of government to public scrutiny."

One of the premises of that objective is the belief that "an informed electorate is vital to the proper operation of a democracy." A more specific goal implicit in the foregoing principles is to give citizens access to the information on the basis of which government agencies make their decisions, thereby equipping the populace to evaluate and criticize those decisions. Apart from the U. S. federal government's Freedom of Information Act, the U. S. states have their own varying freedom of information laws. As indicated by its long title, FOIA was moved from its original home in Section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act. Section 3 of the APA, as enacted in 1946, gave agencies broad discretion concerning the publication of governmental records. Following concerns that the provision had become more of a withholding than a disclosure mechanism, Congress amended the section in 1966 as a standalone act to implement "a general philosophy of full agency disclosure." The amendment required agencies to publish their rules of procedure in the Federal Register, 5 U.

S. C. § 552, to make available for public inspection and copying their opinions, statements of policy and staff manuals and instructions that are not published in the Federal Register, § 552. In addition, § 552 requires every agency, "upon any request for records which... reasonably describes such records" to make such records "promptly available to any person." By § 552 if an agency improperly withholds any documents, the district court has jurisdiction to order their production. Unlike the review of other agency action that must be upheld if supported by substantial evidence and not arbitrary or capricious, FOIA expressly places the burden "on the agency to sustain its action," and directs the district courts to "determine the matter de novo." With the ongoing stress on both constitutional and inherent rights of American citizens and the added assertion of government subservience to the individual, some representative John Moss, thought that it was necessary for government information to be available to the public.

This push built on existing principles and protocols of government administration in place. Others, though—most notably President Lyndon B. Johnson—believed that certain types of unclassified government information should nonetheless remain secret. Notwithstanding the White House's opposition, Congress expanded Section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act as a standalone measure in 1966 to further standardize the publication of government records, consistent with the belief that the people have the "right to know" about them; the Privacy Act of 1974 was passed as a countervailing measure to ensure the security of government documents kept on private citizens. The act explicitly applies only to executive branch government agencies; these agencies are under several mandates to comply with public solicitation of information. Along with making public and accessible all bureaucratic and technical procedures for applying for documents from that agency, agencies are subject to penalties for hindering the process of a petition for information.

If "agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the withholding, Special Counsel shall promptly initiate a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted against the officer or employee, responsible for the withholding." In this way, there is recourse for one seeking information to go to a federal court if suspicion of illegal tampering or delayed sending of records exists. However, there are nine exemptions, ranging from a withholding "specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy" and "trade secrets" to "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The nine current exemptions to the FOIA address issues of sensitivity and personal rights. They are: authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order.

Theophilus Harris Davies

Theophilus Harris Davies was an English businessman. He was the founder of Theo H. Co. one of Hawaii's "Big Five" sugar firms. Davies was born in Stourbridge, England, the son of a Welsh minister and his English wife, he was recruited in England to join the firm of Janion, Green & Co. in Hawaii, a successor to Starkey, Janion & Co. formed in 1845. Partners were William Lowthian Green. Davies arrived in 1857 but returned to England in 1862, where he stayed until 1867, he returned to Honolulu, to bail out Janion. By January 1868, Davies controlled the business and it was being operated as Theo. H. Davies and Company, his son Arthur Whitcliffe Davies, who became the Dean of Worcester, was born that year in Honolulu. Under the laws of the Provisional Government, it became Theo H. Co.. Limited, in January 1894, it grew to become one of Hawaii's "Big Five" sugar firms. He acted as a guardian of Princess Kaʻiulani while she travelled to the United States. Davies died on 25 May 1898. In the 2009 film Princess Kaiulani, he was portrayed by Julian Glover.

His son Theophilus Clive Davies was played by Shaun Evans, daughter Alice by Tamzin Merchant. Edwin Palmer Hoyt. Davies: the inside story of a British-American family in the Pacific and its business enterprises. Topgallant Publishing Company. ISBN 0-914916-58-0

Dean Wickliffe

Dean Hugh Tekahu William Wickliffe is a notorious New Zealand criminal and prison escapee. He is the only person to have escaped Paremoremo maximum security prison twice, in 1976 and 1991, he was New Zealand's longest-serving prisoner. His father was an alcoholic and his mother abandoned him at the age of seven after his parents separated. Wickliffe said he had: "a fractious and traumatic childhood that led him down the dark path of crime and the destruction of himself and others." When he was 15, Wickliffe tracked his mother down in Auckland where she was living with her two daughters. She allowed him to move in provided. On his 16th birthday he came home under the influence and she kicked him out. Wickliffe said: "I went to stay at a caravan park and that's when I started to get into real trouble", he has Irish and Maori ancestry and jokes that "my Celtic blood leads my Maori blood astray". Wickliffe was convicted of murdering jeweller Paul Miet during an armed robbery in 1972. At a retrial 12 years the charge was reduced to manslaughter based on Wickliffe's claim that he had not meant to hurt anyone.

This decision was criticized by Supreme Court Judge Sir Trevor Henry because Wickliffe had been armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol. Wickliffe was released in 1995, but was found guilty of murdering Bay of Plenty man, Richard Bluett; the conviction was quashed in 1998 and he was acquitted at a retrial. In April 2010 Wickliffe was sentenced to two years and nine months imprisonment for drug and firearms offences committed in March 2008. In December 2011, six months after his release from that prison term, he was arrested for manufacture and possession of methamphetamine for supply and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in March 2012. In 2016, Wickliffe was denied parole, the Parole Board finding that he posed "an undue risk to the community." The board granted parole on 17 May 2017 and he was released, subject to nine conditions for 5 years