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When is a violation of the law considered "intentional"?
Upon finding a violation of the Open Meeting Law, the Attorney General may impose a civil penalty upon a public body of not more than $1,000 for each intentional violation. G.L. c. 30A, § 23(c)(4). An "intentional violation" is an act or omission by a public body or public body member in knowing violation of the Open Meeting Law. G.L. c. 30A, § 18. In determining whether a violation was intentional, the Attorney General will consider, among other things, whether the public body or public body member 1) acted with specific intent to violate the law; 2) acted with deliberate ignorance of the law’s requirements; or 3) had been previously informed by a court decision or advised by the Attorney General that the conduct at issue violated the Open Meeting Law. 940 CMR 29.02. If a public body or public body member made a good faith attempt at compliance with the law but was reasonably mistaken about its requirements or, after full disclosure, acted in good faith compliance with the advice of counsel, its conduct will not be considered an intentional violation of the Law. G.L. c. 30A, § 23(g); 940 CMR 29.02.