Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 37. Virginia Freedom of Information Act
11/22/2019

§ 2.2-3714. Violations and penalties.

A. In a proceeding commenced against any officer, employee, or member of a public body under § 2.2-3713 for a violation of § 2.2-3704, 2.2-3705.1 through 2.2-3705.7, 2.2-3706, 2.2-3707, 2.2-3708.2, 2.2-3710, 2.2-3711 or 2.2-3712, the court, if it finds that a violation was willfully and knowingly made, shall impose upon such officer, employee, or member in his individual capacity, whether a writ of mandamus or injunctive relief is awarded or not, a civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, which amount shall be paid into the Literary Fund. For a second or subsequent violation, such civil penalty shall be not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000.

B. In addition to any penalties imposed pursuant to subsection A, if the court finds that any officer, employee, or member of a public body failed to provide public records to a requester in accordance with the provisions of this chapter because such officer, employee, or member altered or destroyed the requested public records with the intent to avoid the provisions of this chapter with respect to such request prior to the expiration of the applicable record retention period set by the retention regulations promulgated pursuant to the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.) by the State Library Board, the court may impose upon such officer, employee, or member in his individual capacity, whether or not a writ of mandamus or injunctive relief is awarded, a civil penalty of up to $100 per record altered or destroyed, which amount shall be paid into the Literary Fund.

C. In addition to any penalties imposed pursuant to subsections A and B, if the court finds that a public body voted to certify a closed meeting in accordance with subsection D of § 2.2-3712 and such certification was not in accordance with the requirements of clause (i) or (ii) of subsection D of § 2.2-3712, the court may impose on the public body, whether or not a writ of mandamus or injunctive relief is awarded, a civil penalty of up to $1,000, which amount shall be paid into the Literary Fund. In determining whether a civil penalty is appropriate, the court shall consider mitigating factors, including reliance of members of the public body on (i) opinions of the Attorney General, (ii) court cases substantially supporting the rationale of the public body, and (iii) published opinions of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

1976, c. 467, § 2.1-346.1; 1978, c. 826; 1984, c. 252; 1989, c. 358; 1996, c. 578; 1999, cc. 703, 726; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 319; 2004, c. 690; 2008, cc. 233, 789; 2011, c. 327; 2017, c. 778; 2018, c. 55; 2019, c. 843.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.