Officially these laws are called the
Arizona Public Records laws,
but some people like to call them the
Arizona Freedom of Information Act,
because they think of the U.S. or Federal Freedom of Information Act.
The Arizona Public Record Laws
The Arizona Public Record laws are in Title 39.
Some numbering and naming terms
When you see something like Title 39 don’t get scared. It more or less means book 39.
Like laws are grouped into books called titles.
contains all the Arizona Criminal Laws,
contains all the Arizona traffic laws,
contains all the election laws.
With in a book or title of laws such as
the laws are usually numbered,
and each number is called a section.
The symbol § is an abbreviation for “section” and the
symbols §§ is an abbreviation that means “sections”.
A.R.S 39 §121
A.R.S. Title 39 Section 121
A.R.S 39 §§121-122
A.R.S. Title 39 Sections 121 thru 122
Important Arizona Public Record laws
For people that want to view Arizona public records these are probably
the most important laws.
The government nannies that maintain the Arizona government web site with the Arizona Revised Statues seem to change the URL names on an almost daily basis to make it hard for people to put links on their non-government web pages that point to the ARS web pages. For that reason I will put a copy of the laws here. Today is Feb 8, 2008, but remember of time the laws may change and become different then the laws I have placed on this web page.
Last not that many government nannies that maintain the public records will lie to you and say you are not allowed to see public records. It is best to always threaten to sue them if they don’t honor your request for public records in a very short time period. And Arizona law says they must respond to your public record request as quickly as possible.
Access to a public record is deemed denied if a custodian fails to promptly respond to a request for production of a public record
or fails to provide to the requesting person an index of any record
or categories of records that are withheld from production pursuant to subsection D, paragraph 2 of this section
Summary of Arizona Public Record Laws
39-121. Inspection of public records
Public records and other matters in the custody of any officer shall be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours.
39-121.01. Definitions; maintenance of records; copies, printouts or photographs of public records; examination by mail; index
A. In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
39-121.02. Action on denial of access; costs and attorney fees; damages
1. "Officer" means any person elected or appointed to hold any elective or appointive office of any public body and any chief administrative officer, head, director, superintendent or chairman of any public body.
2. "Public body" means the state, any county, city, town, school district, political subdivision or tax-supported district in the state, any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council or committee of the foregoing, and any public organization or agency, supported in whole or in part by monies from the state or any political subdivision of the state, or expending monies provided by the state or any political subdivision of the state.
B. All officers and public bodies shall maintain all records, including records as defined in section
41-1350, reasonably necessary or appropriate to maintain an accurate knowledge of their official activities and of any of their activities which are supported by monies from the state or any political subdivision of the state.
C. Each public body shall be responsible for the preservation, maintenance and care of that body's public records, and each officer shall be responsible for the preservation, maintenance and care of that officer's public records. It shall be the duty of each such body to carefully secure, protect and preserve public records from deterioration, mutilation, loss or destruction, unless disposed of pursuant to sections
D. Subject to section 39-121.03:
1. Any person may request to examine or be furnished copies, printouts or photographs of any public record during regular office hours or may request that the custodian mail a copy of any public record not otherwise available on the public body's web site to the requesting person. The custodian may require any person requesting that the custodian mail a copy of any public record to pay in advance for any copying and postage charges. The custodian of such records shall promptly furnish such copies, printouts or photographs and may charge a fee if the facilities are available, except that public records for purposes listed in section
shall be furnished without charge.
2. If requested, the custodian of the records of an agency shall also furnish an index of records or categories of records that have been withheld and the reasons the records or categories of records have been withheld from the requesting person. The custodian shall not include in the index information that is expressly made privileged or confidential in statute or a court order. This paragraph shall not be construed by an administrative tribunal or a court of competent jurisdiction to prevent or require an order compelling a public body other than an agency to furnish an index. For the purposes of this paragraph, "agency" has the same meaning prescribed in section
but does not include the department of public safety, the department of transportation motor vehicle division, the department of juvenile corrections and the state department of corrections.
3. If the custodian of a public record does not have facilities for making copies, printouts or photographs of a public record which a person has a right to inspect, such person shall be granted access to the public record for the purpose of making copies, printouts or photographs. The copies, printouts or photographs shall be made while the public record is in the possession, custody and control of the custodian of the public record and shall be subject to the supervision of such custodian.
E. Access to a public record is deemed denied if a custodian fails to promptly respond to a request for production of a public record or fails to provide to the requesting person an index of any record or categories of records that are withheld from production pursuant to subsection D, paragraph 2 of this section.
A. Any person who has requested to examine or copy public records pursuant to this article, and who has been denied access to or the right to copy such records, may appeal the denial through a special action in the superior court, pursuant to the rules of procedure for special actions against the officer or public body.
39-122. Free searches for and copies of public records to be used in claims against United States; liability for noncompliance
B. The court may award attorney fees and other legal costs that are reasonably incurred in any action under this article if the person seeking public records has substantially prevailed. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the rights of any party to recover attorney fees pursuant to section
subsection C, or attorney fees, expenses and double damages pursuant to section
C. Any person who is wrongfully denied access to public records pursuant to this article has a cause of action against the officer or public body for any damages resulting from the denial.
A. No state, county or city, or any officer or board thereof shall demand or receive a fee or compensation for issuing certified copies of public records or for making search for them, when they are to be used in connection with a claim for a pension, allotment, allowance, compensation, insurance or other benefits which is to be presented to the United States or a bureau or department thereof.
B. Notaries public shall not charge for an acknowledgment to a document which is to be so filed or presented.
C. The services specified in subsections A and B shall be rendered on request of an official of the United States, a claimant, his guardian or attorney. For each failure or refusal so to do, the officer so failing shall be liable on his official bond.
Check out this sister site on Arizona's Public Record Laws
Tribune is doing an article on public record laws
February 9, 2008 - 3:58AM
Tribune seeks tales of public record requests
The Tribune is looking for your stories, struggles and successes in requesting public records from local and state government agencies.
Court backs faster public record response
Whether you’re an everyday citizen, a business person, lawyer or politician, we want to hear your tales of trying to get information from the people whose salaries are paid by your tax dollars.
E-mail us at
Be sure to provide your full name and a phone number so a reporter can contact you. Your story may be used in an upcoming piece about state public records law.