Student reporter opens N.Y. taxi court’s doors

NEW YORK — A student at Columbia University’s Graduate School ofJournalism is headed where no reporter has gone before.

In March, a state court ruled that journalist Daniel L. Ackman has theright to attend hearings of the city’s taxi and limousine commission. Ackmanrequested permission to attend the hearings in January to obtain informationabout the lives of taxi drivers for an article he was writing as part ofhis master’s degree thesis program.

He filed suit after being prevented on several occasions from enteringthe hearings in which complaints are brought against drivers. The taxicourt has been subject to an informal closed-door policy since 1994, andState Supreme Court Justice Stanley Parness said in his decision that therehave been few, if any, other attempts to gain access to the hearings.

Parness did not accept the commission’s argument that it has a legitimateinterest in closing the meetings.

City officials say they have not decided whether to appeal the decision.