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Arizona Public Records

Arizona has an "open state" public records law that has been in existence for over 100 years which mandates all public records be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours. 1.  Title 39 (Arizona's public records law) is a series of statutes and court cases that define public access to government information. These statutes grant the right of access to the public any documents made or received by public employees in the performance of their jobs.

Where to Find Arizona Public Records

There are some exemptions to public access. These include any documents that would breach an individual’s privacy or interfere in an ongoing investigation. Examples of exemptions are student records, research documents, medical records, sealed court documents, and active criminal investigations.

General Info

Records requests must be complied with in a reasonable period of time. Under Arizona law, if a request for public records is not acknowledged and responded to promptly it is deemed denied. If a repeated request is not responded to the office may face court proceedings and an order to produce the public record. The length of time for a response depends upon the facts, circumstances, and scope of each request.

According to A.R.S. 39-121.03A when requesting Arizona public records you must declare if the information provided will be used for commercial purposes. (If the documents requested are used for commercial purposes they may have further costs assigned for research, copy, and man hours.)

Some offices are better (and faster) than others at supplying public records. Many county offices have records request forms. Requests should be made in writing to the office that holds the records. Written requests avoid conflict of meaning, are more likely to get to the proper office, and also provide a document trail. Even when going to an office in person it is better to request the records in writing.

In 2002, the Associated Press of Arizona managing editors conducted a research project that found police departments are less likely to open records. 2

More Info

1.  According to Title 39-121 (Inspection of public records),  "Public records and other matters in the custody of any officer shall be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours."
Decisions and updates to statutes effective January 1, 2008

Arizona Government Records

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Attorney General

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State Treasurer

Auditor General