Local News

Judge: Patrol text messages not public record

Posted July 21, 2010 4:29 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2010 5:20 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that text messages received on a state Highway Patrol employee's cell phone were not considered public record.

WRAL and other media organizations had filed a legal complaint to obtain all text messages sent to former Highway Patrol spokesman Maj. Everett Clendenin from his secretary Pam Maynard on the grounds that they were public information because they were received on Clendenin's state-issued Blackberry. The messages were sent from Maynard's person cell phone.

Clendenin, who served as spokesman for the state agency for nine years, resigned last month amid an internal investigation into inappropriate text messages to Maynard.

On June 9, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben Young released a series of messages exchanged between Maynard and Clendenin in April through June. In addition to the business-related messages that were released, officials mistakenly released personal messages, including a conversation log between Maynard and Clendenin during May.

In total, the two exchanged thousands of text messages over a three-month period.