A North Carolina judge is considering if personal text messages a former high-ranking Highway Patrol officer recieved from his assistant are public records that must be released.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Tuesday that Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner said he would read through documents before issuing an order.
Media organizations are suing the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
The agency contends disclosure laws don't require it to turn over text messages received on a state-issued BlackBerry that involve personal discussions.
An attorney representing media outlets said public employees should have no expectation of privacy for messages sent during work hours to a state-issued device.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol wants troopers to show they're not spending too much time talking and texting on personal phones while on the job.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Friday the patrol's leaders are working on a policy requiring troopers to provide supervisors with copies of their mobile phone bills.
Most troopers aren't provided with state-owned phones, but often carry personal phones while on duty.
The policy is part of ethics reforms coming after a series of embarrassing episodes involving troopers' misconduct.
In one case, a high-ranking trooper was forced to resign over thousands of text messages sent to his secretary, some of which included sexual banter.