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Levitt v. NYPD (Seeking access to NYPD policy for issuing press passes)


This case is an attempt to compel the NYPD to disclose information about its policy for issuing press passes to journalists. In January 2007, the NYPD denied journalist Leonard Levitt’s press-pass renewal application. Levitt, a veteran police reporter who has worked for Newsday, the Associated Press and New York Post, is the author of, a web site that investigates the NYPD. He had held an NYPD-issued press pass for 24 years. The denial of Levitt’s application followed attempts in 2005 and 2006 to ban him from police headquarters.

On May 14, 2007, Levitt and the NYCLU served the NYPD with a formal request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law to disclose relevant information about the Department’s policy to issue or deny press passes. It also requested information specifically related to the decision to deny Levitt’s renewal application. The NYPD stated it would respond to the request by Sept. 14, 2007. It failed to meet this self-imposed deadline. By November the only information released to Mr. Levitt was 18 pages of his own letters to the NYPD, copies of which he already possessed. On Feb. 20, 2008, the NYCLU and Mr. Levitt filed an Article 78 proceeding challenging the Department’s refusal to disclose information about its policy for issuing or denying press passes. The NYPD turned over the requested documents in June 2008. 

State Supreme Court, New York County, Index No. 08/102720 (direct) 

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