July 14, 2007 in City

Inmate’s visitor roster denied

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane County jail supervisor said Thursday she won’t submit a request that would allow an inmate to authorize the release of a list of people who’ve visited him.

Kay Donder, who’s in charge of jail records, said she didn’t want to “get in the middle” of a debate about whether the visitor logs are public.

Donder and the Spokane County prosecutor’s office denied an assistant attorney general’s request to release a roster of Jonathan Lytle’s visitors. Lytle, 28, of Spokane, is awaiting trial on a charge of homicide by abuse in connection with the death of his 4-year-old daughter, Summer Phelps.

Assistant Attorney General Tim Ford said the information should be disclosed under Washington’s public records laws.

But Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Steve Kinn said the information was protected under a state statute the keeps inmate records confidential. Kinn acknowledged that a clause in the statute allows release of the records if the inmate agrees in writing.

Donder refused a Spokesman-Review request to ask Lytle to authorize it, directing a reporter to write to the inmate or visit him in jail.

However, Lytle filed an affidavit in Spokane Superior Court in May requesting no media contact. Donder said she wasn’t aware of that order when she told a reporter to visit, but that it didn’t alter her position.

“I can’t speak for all ‘jail personnel,’ just myself,” Donder wrote in an e-mail. “You are correct. I am not willing to pass on a request for authorization to Mr. Lytle.”

The Spokesman-Review plans to appeal the denial of the public records request.


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