Court Exposes Confidential Records

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The Gila County Superior Court is licking its wounds after learning a citizen uncovered sensitive documents tossed in a recycle bin.

The records include information on court cases and court staff, including e-mails.

Someone anonymously mailed the Roundup a package of the records, claiming to have found them improperly disposed of by the court.

The mailer indicated they were also sending copies of the records to other news agencies.

A Globe radio station and a Valley news station recently ran stories on the faux pas.

Kendall Rhyne, court administrator, said the office obviously made a mistake and should have treated the records with “utmost care and attention.”

He said while there are protocols for disposing of records, they were not followed. In turn, the information could be used for “ill will.”

Rhyne said he has taken corrective action and informed employees how to dispose of records properly. “I understand the bewilderment of the citizens of Gila County over how such an act could occur,” he wrote in a press release. “My answer to that is twofold. One, there was a breakdown in communication and second, additional training is necessary.”

“As the chief probation officer and court administrator, I am saddened that mistakes were made, but the fact that we made a mistake does not slow my resolve for transparency.”

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