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JS Online Weighs in on Proposal to Limit Access to Court Records

In an editorial yesterday, JS Online weighs in on another proposal to limit access to Wisconsin's online court records.

Companion proposals by Vos and Lassa would have state officials remove cases or charges involving a civil forfeiture or misdemeanor from the Web site within 90 days after being notified that the case or charge has been dismissed, the defendant has been found not guilty of all of the charges or the case or charge has been overturned on appeal and dismissed. In the case of felonies, the case or charge would be removed within 120 days after officials had been notified that one of the above had happened.

As Peter Fox of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association put it in an e-mail, the proposals are poor public policy. "For one thing, the WCCA site is intended to reflect the actual record of Wisconsin courts, not excerpts thereof," he wrote. "Essentially, this proposal would create two 'sets of books.' "

Source: Wheeler Report