The Daily Iowan

Judge to review documents in Hunninghake case


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A judge is set to review a set of 11 documents in the records case of former University of Iowa Professor Gary Hunninghake following a hearing Monday.

During the hearing, said Hunninghake attorney Leon Spies, Jordan Esbrook, an Iowa assistant attorney general representing the UI, argued that police investigative reports would not need to be released to the media because they are exempt from Iowa public-records disclosure.

Hunninghake, 64, resigned from the university March 31, nearly one year after the school placed him on paid administrative leave because of a UI police investigation into child-pornography allegations. The UI police closed their investigation in December 2010 without filing charges.

Should the court decide to release the records, Spies said, Esbrook asked that the information in the reports about several UI employees who aided in the investigation be redacted, because it could be damaging.

Esbrook told the court he did not have a problem releasing other documents — including e-mails and computer/IT work reports — related to the case, because they would not be subject to a protective order from the court, Spies said.

Spies told The Daily Iowan that the disclosure of the records would damage both the personal and professional reputation of his client without the opportunity to respond in a legal forum.

Judge Douglas Russell will review the records under seal, and he gave the UI 10 days to submit a Vaughn Index, which will outline each document submitted to the court, Spies said.

Spies said Russell permitted each party — the UI, Iowa City Press-Citizen, and Hunninghake — an additional seven days to respond to the arguments of the other parties.

— by Hayley Bruce