A private investigator has told the Barren County Attorney that he does not have a copy of his own investigative report, but a new circuit court order allows the investigator himself and his computer to be subpoenaed for examination at trial.
Private Investigator Mike Ober, who was hired by the Barren County Fiscal Court at a rate of $3,500 to investigate the Barren County Detention Center, received a subpoena for his investigative report last month. The fiscal court did not already have the full report because it voted in May to have Ober give the report directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The court was under the impression at the time that Ober's report would not be subject to open records law if the court did not have possession of it.
An open records request filed by the Glasgow Daily Times in May for the report was denied by the fiscal court and subsequently appealed to the Kentucky Attorney General. The attorney general ruled in the Daily Times' favor that the report was, as a document paid for with taxpayer dollars, subject to open records law no matter who was in physical possession of the report. When the Barren County Fiscal Court appealed the attorney general's ruling in circuit court, Barren County Circuit Court Judge Phil Patton ordered the fiscal court to obtain Ober's full report, so that Patton could view the document before making his own ruling. That order led County Attorney Jeff Sharp to send a subpoena to Ober on July 18, requesting the full report before August 1.
The first subpoena was returned “not found,” according to Sharp's subpoena status report filed with the court on Aug. 2. Sharp found a home address for Ober on the internet, and sent a second subpoena on July 25.
On August 1, Ober called Sharp to confirm that he received Sharp's subpoena, but he said he gave the FBI all of his investigative materials when they sent him a subpoena on June 6.
Read more of this story in the Weekender edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.