Student newspaper sues over access to police records

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003

FAIRBANKS - The student newspaper of the University of Alaska Fairbanks is suing the university to obtain campus police records of Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Rick Solie's drunken driving arrest in August.

The Sun Star filed its lawsuit after the university denied requests made by the college newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and KTVF-TV to release the material.

Solie and his wife, Cherie, also are named as defendants. Cherie Solie is head of the Fairbanks office of Gov. Frank Murkowski.

University police arrested Solie on a charge of driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a chemical test after he was stopped at shortly before 3 a.m. Aug. 30 for driving on the wrong side of Tanana Loop, according to court documents.

Solie later pleaded no contest to a charge of driving while intoxicated. He also stepped down as presiding officer of the Assembly.

The three news agencies filed individually for the police records.

The requests were denied on grounds that releasing the records could cause an "unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy," university attorney James Parrish wrote.

But Walker argued otherwise.

"I don't see any reason why the police department should withhold the police report and those records in this situation," Walker said. "They're public figures and it happened on a public roadway."

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