Beginning this Thursday, March 20, anyone seeking access to public records from California state or local government agencies can use a quick, inexpensive Internet service called SunScribe. Sacramento-based Californians Aware, a nonprofit open government advocacy group, is offering the new wizard-assisted service. It can be accessed on CalAware’s Web site (calaware.org) and will automatically generate customized request letters developed by public records legal specialist Terry Francke, who serves as CalAware’s general counsel. 

SunScribe will offer users three levels of service:

  • The basic level is a do-it-yourself option that will generate a form letter for the user to submit. This service is free to CalAware members, or $2.99 to others.
  • For those seeking anonymity as requesters, CalAware will contact the relevant agency on the user’s behalf at the Gold service level, available to members at $19.99.
  • The full-service or Premium level will include further assistance and oversight by Francke, who will follow up with the agency with reconsideration letters if he feels that the request was improperly denied, plus an evaluation of the strength of the agency’s position to help denied requesters decide their options.  Premium level service is available to members at $74.99.

SunScribe will be the first public records request service of its kind in California, offering help that previously has been available only through attorneys charging hundreds of dollars an hour. 

The service does not include legal representation or litigation, but attorneys who provide such service throughout the state are listed in CalAware’s free lawyer directory.

SunScribe is a service made possible by a grant from the law firm of Cooper, White & Cooper in San Francisco.

For more details, visit calaware.org beginning Thursday, March 20.