A prominent media law attorney with a history of newspaper advocacy disagreed with that assertion.
"The deliberative process privilege is probably the single most abused so-called privilege in California," said Karl Olson, an expert public records attorney in San Francisco. "It's not an absolute privilege by any means. It's just a balancing test. They'd have to show the interest in withholding the documents clearly outweighs the interest of public disclosure."
Boss and the school district's attorney could not be reached for follow-up comments.
Davenport, however, said that he was told by the school district's counsel that the e-mails did not have to be released under the law.
"I don't really have much of an opinion on it," Davenport said. "It's with these kinds of requests that we usually turn to our attorney."
Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis said the public's right to review communications between public officials is well-established by the California Public Records Act.
"E-mails sent by public officials about government business and proceedings constitute public records," Canalis said. "Both parties in this matter are public officials — one elected, the other appointed by the school board — and it is our belief that the communications they sent in their official capacities belong to the taxpayers."
Canalis added that many e-mails written by Hubbard in relation to his pending criminal case have already been released to the Daily Pilot by the Beverly Hills and Newport-Mesa school districts. He sees no difference with the e-mails the district is now refusing to disclose.