Despite two recent rulings involving the disclosure of public records, the Vermont State Police said it is prohibited from releasing a copy of a speeding ticket and dashboard video of the violation, reports the Burlington Free Press. The state police position appears to be in conflict with the general practice of police in Vermont. The head of the Vermont Police Chiefs' Association maintains traffic tickets have always been considered public record, but the state police now believe their release would violate federal law.
At issue is a renewed request by the Burlington Free Press for information about Trooper Michael Studin's speeding ticket for driving 133 miles per hour on Interstate 91 in Rockingham on Oct. 29, 2008. Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Tremblay and his wife were in their private vehicle when Studin sped past them in an unmarked super-charged cruiser at about 2:45 p.m. near the Rockingham interchange. In one recent ruling, a judge ordered the release of the dashboard video when state Auditor Tom Salmon was arrested for driving while intoxicated in November 2009. In the other case, the state police agreed to release information including the video from when a speeding ticket was issued to State Sen. Peter Shumlin. State police officials now say they believe the release of Studin's ticket would violate confidentiality under the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act.