- Associated Press - Monday, December 28, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico attorney general’s office says autopsy reports done by a state-run office for a tribal entity or the federal government are subject to open record laws because the work is carried out in part using state funds and resources.

The written opinion was issued earlier this month. It stemmed from a request from the Rio Grande Sun newspaper for autopsy reports done by the state Office of the Medical Investigator under contract for the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies over a two year period starting in January 2017.

The newspaper filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office in 2019 after being denied the records.

Assistant Attorney General John Kreienkamp wrote in the opinion that if such records were off limits, that would allow all other government agencies to perform contractual services either for other government entities or private ones and then decline to provide any information about those services to the public on the basis of a narrow interpretation of “public business.”

While the opinion isn’t legally binding, the attorney general’s office said the Office of the Medical Investigator has pledged to take remedial action, the Albuquerque Journal reported.



The Office of the Medical Investigator said in a statement that it appreciated the attorney general’s clarification and that it was committed to transparency.

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