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5. Arrest records


  • Alabama

    There is authority for public access to the following arrest records:

    a. Arrest reports, with redaction of witness identification and witness reports at the discretion of the police department, are open. Birmingham News Co. v. Deutcsh, CV 85-504-132 JDC (Cir. Ct. of Jefferson County, Ala., Equity Div., Aug. 19, 1986) (consent order).

    b. Arrest warrants and search warrants, with supporting affidavits and depositions, are open after execution and return. 197 Op. Att’y Gen. Ala. 13 (Oct. 10, 1984).

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  • Alaska

    Records of arrests in general are presumptively available. They are not specifically exempt under the public records act, AS 40.25.120(6)[A], and the statute authorizing or requiring withholding of much information contained in the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) expressly excludes from its reach information that an individual is currently under arrest for or is charged with a crime, and prosecution is under review or has been deferred by agreement, a warrant exists for the person's arrest, or less than a year has elapsed since the date of the arrest or filing of the charges. AS 12.62.900(14). See generally, Open Records Guide, section II.B.7.

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  • Arizona

    If accused, the arrest record of a juvenile who has been referred to juvenile court is open for public inspection.  A.R.S. § 8-208(A).  Arrest reports of other offenders are public records.  Phoenix New Times, 217 Ariz. at 545, 177 P.3d at 287.

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  • Arkansas

    Arrest records generally must be disclosed. Hengel v. City of Pine Bluff, 307 Ark. 457, 821 S.W.2d 761 (1991). An order of expungement or an order to seal a record does exempt an arrest report from the FOIA. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 2004-049; Ark. Code Ann. § 16-90-903. Arrest records of juveniles are exempt from the FOIA unless the disclosure is authorized by a written order of the court or the arrest results in the juvenile’s being formally charged with a felony. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-309(j).

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  • California

    Except to the extent that disclosure of a particular item of information would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation or would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation, state and local law enforcement agencies shall make public the following information pertaining to arrests: “[t]he full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency, the individual’s physical description including date of birth, color of eyes and hair, sex, height and weight, the time and place of arrest, the time and date of booking, the location of the arrest, the factual circumstances surrounding the arrest, the amount of bail set, the time and manner of release or the location where the individual is currently being held, and all charges the individual is being held upon, including any outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions and parole or probation holds.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6254(f)(1); see County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Kusar), 18 Cal. App. 4th 588, 598-99, 22 Cal. Rptr. 2d 409 (1993) (holding disclosure requirements pertaining to arrest information under subdivision (f)(1) applied only to contemporaneous record, not to a request going back five years); but see Fredericks v. Superior Court, 233 Cal. App. 4th 209, 182 Cal. Rptr. 3d 526 (2015) (rejecting Kusar time-limitations for disclosure requirements under subdivision (f)(2), and calling into question Kusar’s continued validity in light of statutory changes to statutes).

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  • Colorado

    Yes. "Records of Official Action" (which includes arrest) must be released for public inspection in their entirety. In re People v. Thompson, 181 P.3d 1143, 1143-44 (2008). Court held that this principle is subject only to the redaction of identifying information of any alleged sexual assault victims. Id.

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  • Connecticut

    In Gifford v. FOIC, 227 Conn. 641, 631 A.2d 252 (1993) the Supreme Court ruled that reports prepared by police in connection with arrests were not required to be disclosed to the public during the pendency of the related criminal prosecution; and that Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-215(a) exclusively regulates the disclosure of arrest reports, to the exclusion of § 1-210(b)(3); and as it then existed required the police to disclose only limited data: the name and address of the person arrested, the date, time and place of the arrest, and the offense for which the person was arrested. In 1994 § 1-215 was amended to provide that in addition to the aforesaid required disclosures, the police must, subject to the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-210(b)(3), also disclose one of the following: "arrest report, incident report, news release or other similar report of the arrest of a person."  See however, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-216, mandating destruction of records of uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity upon review one year after compilation.

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  • Delaware

    Not specified.

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  • District of Columbia

    Arrest books are open to public inspection under D.C. Code Ann. § 5-113.06(a).

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  • Georgia

    Initial police arrest reports are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.  O.C.G.A. 50-18-72(a)(4).

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  • Hawaii

    Arrest logs must be disclosed. See Public Access to Police Blotter Information, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-4 (Mar. 25, 1991). There is no exception for disclosure of names of individuals who were arrested and later released without charges being filed or released pending further investigation. Police Blotter Information, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 07-04 (Mar. 22, 2007). Conviction information in the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center’s database of information concerning the criminal history of individuals is public, but non-conviction information, including arrest information, is confidential and can only be disclosed to certain persons or under certain circumstances as set forth in Haw. Rev. Stat. § 846-9. Access to Arrest History Information, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 97-05 (June 10, 1997).

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  • Idaho

    Arrest records are not exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. Idaho Code § 74-124(3)(b).

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  • Illinois

    Open.  5 ILCS 140/2.15; Public Access Opinion 11-001 (available at (concluding that Section 2.14 of the FOIA requires disclosure of arrest reports).

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  • Indiana

    If a person is arrested or summoned for an offense, information that identifies the person, describes any charges on which the arrest or summons is based, and relates to the circumstances of the arrest or the issuance of the summons must be disclosed. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-5(a). If a person is received in a jail or lock-up, information that identifies the person, the reason for being placed in lock-up, including the name of the person on whose order the person is being held, the time and date that the person was received, the time and date of the person’s discharge, and the amount of the person’s bail or bond, if fixed, shall be disclosed. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-5(b).

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  • Iowa

    See generally Iowa Code § 22.7(5).

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  • Kansas

    Documents stating charges filed against individuals in municipal court and specifying scheduled court dates are open. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1987-145. Jail books listing persons in jail are open. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1987-25. However, correctional records pertaining to an identifiable inmate are exempt from disclosure. K.S.A. 45-221(a)(29). Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1984-124.

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  • Kentucky

    Generally open. See Cape Publications v. City of Louisville, 147 S.W. 3d 731, 733 (Ky. Ct. App. 2004) (“[P]olice incident reports are matters of public interest and are public records.”).

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  • Louisiana

    Exempt until the arrested party has been adjudged or pleads guilty. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:3. Op. Att'y Gen. 97-417 (report of deputy sheriff regarding emergency medical service performed in connection with an arrest is exempt). But booking records, police log books of arrest, and initial investigative reports are public records, except for information that would reveal ongoing undercover or intelligence operations or the identity of a sexual offense victim, or that would otherwise be exempt under another specific provision of section 3 (e.g., names of confidential informants or undercover officers). La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:3; State v. Campbell, 566 So. 2d 1038 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1990) (en banc). See also Section 9 of the Act, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:9, which provides for the expungement and, in some cases, destruction of certain arrest records.

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  • Maine

    Available, unless more than one year has passed between the date the person was arrested and no active prosecution of a criminal charge stemming from the summons or arrest is pending, 16 M.R.S.A. § 703(2).  Information about persons detained following an arrest is also public, 16 M.R.S.A. § 706.

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  • Maryland

    The documents of an investigation by a police department, sheriff's office or any of the other law enforcement agencies specifically listed in § 4-351(a) are presumptively compiled for law enforcement or prosecution purposes. Office of the State Prosecutor v. Judicial Watch Inc., 356 Md. 118, 737 A.2d 592 (1999); Superintendent, Maryland State Police v. Henschen, 279 Md. 468, 475, 369 A.2d 558 (1977); Blythe v. State, 161 Md. App. 492, 525-26, n.6, 870 A.2d 1246, cert. granted, 388 Md. 97, 879 A.2d 42 (2005). For example, the State's Attorney is neither required nor authorized to disclose a police investigative report or any part of it that was used for grand jury proceedings. 64 Op. Att'y Gen. 236 (1979).

    Moreover, where the agency's files are prepared in anticipation of government litigation and adjudicative proceedings are pending or contemplated, such files are compiled for law enforcement purposes. ACLU v. Leopold, 223 Md. App. 97, 128 (2015); Equitable Trust Co. v. Maryland Comm'n on Human Relations, 42 Md. App. 53, 75, 399 A.2d 908 (1979), rev'd on other grounds, 287 Md. 80, 411 A.2d 86 (1980); see also 82 Op. Att'y Gen. 49, 50-51 (1997) (finding MVA records compiled during course of investigation into driver's fitness to be "investigatory files," but also finding such files are generally subject to disclosure to the driver).

    If the agency is not a law enforcement agency specifically listed in the PIA, then it must show that its records were compiled for law enforcement or prosecution purposes in order for the exemption to apply. Office of the State Prosecutor, 356 Md. at 140, 737 A.2d at 604 (distinguishing Fioretti, 351 Md. at 78-79, 716 A.2d at 264-65 (Board of Dental Examiners was not among specifically enumerated entities and was required, therefore, to prove both that it was conducting an investigation and that production of individual records sought would prejudice that investigation)); see also Equitable Trust Co., 42 Md. App. 53, 75. Thus, for example, because the Human Relations Commission is not a named law enforcement agency, it is required to make such a showing. Id.

    An agency might have records obtained from investigatory files of another agency. In these circumstances, the agency must withhold investigatory material if the agency that provided the information would itself deny access under the investigatory records exemption. PIA Manual, at 3-35 (citing 89 Opinions of the Attorney General 31, 44 (2004)).

    A person whose complaint of police misconduct gives rise to an internal police investigation of the incident, is not the subject of the internal investigation and is not, therefore, a person in interest. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, v. Maryland Comm. Against the Gun Ban, 329 Md. 78, 617 A.2d 1040 (1993); see also Briscoe v. Mayor of Baltimore, 100 Md. App. 124, 640 A.2d 226 (1994) (complaining witness was not a person in interest, so denial of inspection of Internal Investigation Division file was justified on public interest grounds). Thus, if the custodian believes that disclosure of records pertaining to the investigation is not in the public interest, the PIA does not require disclosure to the complaining party. Id.

    A custodian may deny access to a person in interest only to the extent that disclosure would interfere with a valid and proper law enforcement proceeding, deprive another person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication, constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, disclose the identity of a confidential source, disclose an investigative technique, prejudice an investigation, or endanger the life or physical safety of an individual. § 4-351(b). Because of a person in interest's favored status, a custodian must point out precisely which of the seven grounds enumerated in § 4-351(b) justify withholding of an investigatory record and explain precisely why it would do so. Blythe v. State, 161 Md. App. 492, 531, 870 A.2d 1246, cert. granted, 388 Md. 97, 879 A.2d 42 (2005)); see also PIA Manual, at 3-36.

    Although this section appears to place a heavy burden upon a custodian seeking to justify nondisclosure to a person in interest, Maryland case law indicates to the contrary. See Attorney General v. Gallagher, 359 Md. 341, 355, 753 A.2d 1036, 1044 (2000) (person in interest was not entitled to obtain disclosure of records falling within mandatory exemptions of the Act); Office of the State Prosecutor, 356 Md. at 140, 737 A.2d at 604. Faulk v. States Attorney, 299 Md. 493, 474 A.2d 880 (1984). For example, the State is not required to make a particularized showing that the disclosure of investigatory police records compiled for law enforcement purposes to a defendant in a pending criminal proceeding would interfere with that proceeding; a generic determination of interference can be made whenever a defendant in a pending criminal proceeding seeks access to investigatory police reports relating to that proceeding. Id. However, a convicted defendant may obtain access to the prosecutorial file concerning the defendant absent the presence of one or more of the factors stated in subparagraph 2. See 81 Opp. Att'y Gen. 251 (1996).

    Once an investigation is closed, investigatory files are subject to disclosure, based upon an amendment to the comparable FOIA exemption. See Fioretti v. Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners, 351 Md. 66, 716 A.2d 258 (1998); Bowen v. Davison, 135 Md. App 152, 761 A.2d 1013 (2000).  Once an investigation has been closed, disclosure is considered less likely to be "contrary to the public interest." City of Frederick v. Randall Family, LLC, 154 Md. App. 543, 562-567, 841 A.2d 10 (2004), Prince George's County v. Washington Post Co., 149 Md. App. 289, 33, 815 A.2d 859 (2003).  Where the internal police investigation concludes with a determination that the allegations are not sustained, fairness to the investigated officers and the avoidance of needless publicity to the cooperating witnesses, with possible inhibiting effects on future investigations, justify on public interest grounds, the custodian's denial of inspection to one other than a person in interest. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, v. Maryland Comm. Against the Gun Ban, 329 Md. 78, 617 A.2d 1040 (1993).

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Montana

    An initial arrest report is public criminal justice information. Law enforcement must provide the information below as a part of a public initial arrest record. 42 Mont. A.G. Op. 119 (1988). If the information is in electronic form, the law enforcement agency must provide a copy of that information to a requester and cannot charge a fee exceeding the cost of the report. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-6-110. The initial arrest record must include the facts and circumstances of arrest, including but not limited to:
    1) day and time of arrest;
    2) exact place of arrest;
    3) resistance by the person arrested;
    4) pursuit of the person arrested; and
    5) use of weapons

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  • Nebraska

    Arrest records should be public after an arrest warrant has been served.

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  • Nevada

    See Donrey of Nevada, Inc. v. Bradshaw, 106 Nev. 630 (1990).

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  • New Hampshire

    RSA 594:14-a states that an “arrest record” is a “governmental record” for purposes of and subject to disclosure in accordance with the Statute.

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  • New Jersey

    N.J.S.A. 47:1A-3(b) provides:

    1. Notwithstanding the provisions of P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented, the following information concerning a criminal investigation shall be available to the public within 24 hours or as soon as practicable, of a request for such information:

    where a crime has been reported but no arrest yet made, information as to the type of crime, time, location and type of weapon, if any;

    if an arrest has been made, information as to the name, address and age of any victims unless there has not been sufficient opportunity for notification of next of kin of any victims of injury and/or death to any such victim or where the release of the names of any victim would be contrary to existing law or court rule. In deciding on the release of information as to the identity of a victim, the safety of the victim and the victim’s family, and the integrity of any ongoing investigation, shall be considered;

    if an arrest has been made, information as to the defendant’s name, age, residence, occupation, marital status and similar background information and, the identity of the complaining party unless the release of such information is contrary to existing law or court rule;

    information as to the text of any charges such as the complaint, accusation and indictment unless sealed by the court or unless the release of such information is contrary to existing law or court rule;

    information as to the identity of the investigating and arresting personnel and agency and the length of the investigation;

    information of the circumstances immediately surrounding the arrest, including but not limited to the time and place of the arrest, resistance, if any, pursuit, possession and nature and use of weapons and ammunition by the suspect and by the police; and

    information as to circumstances surrounding bail, whether it was posted and the amount thereof.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, where it shall appear that the information requested or to be examined will jeopardize the safety of any person or jeopardize any investigation in progress or may be otherwise inappropriate to release, such information may be withheld. This exception shall be narrowly construed to prevent disclosure of information that would be harmful to a bona fide law enforcement purpose or the public safety. Whenever a law enforcement official determines that it is necessary to withhold information, the official shall issue a brief statement explaining the decision.

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  • New Mexico

    Notations of the arrest or filing of criminal charges against an individual that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals accused but not charged with a crime are confidential, and dissemination is unlawful except as otherwise provided by law.  NMSA 1978 § 29-10-4.

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  • North Carolina

    The information identified in G.S. § 132-1.4(c) is public, regardless of the status of an investigation.

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  • North Dakota

    Generally open. See N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.7(2).

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  • Ohio

    Arrest records are public records and are not exempt as confidential law enforcement investigatory records as an arrested suspect is considered to be “charged.”  State ex rel. Outlet Communications Inc. v. Lancaster Police Dept., 38 Ohio St. 3d 324, 528 N.E.2d 175 (1988); State ex rel. Moreland v. City of Dayton, 67 Ohio St. 3d 129, 616 N.E.2d 234 (1993).

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  • Oklahoma

    Arrest records are available for public inspection and copying. 51 O.S. § 24A.8.A. The Oklahoma Supreme Court found that recordings of a Department of Public Safety administrative hearing on driver’s license revocations are public because they contain facts concerning an arrest.  Fabian & Associates, P.C. v. State ex rel. Dep’t of Pub. Safety, 2004 OK 67.  The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals held that a law enforcement agency’s dash cam video recording of an arrest is a record under the Act.  Ward & Lee, P.L.C. v. City of Claremore, 2014 OK CIV APP 1.  After law enforcement agencies continued to question these rulings, especially in light of the proliferation of body cameras, the legislature amended 51 O.S. § 24A.8 to provide that audio and video recordings attached to law enforcement vehicles (24A.8.A.9) and to law enforcement personnel (24A.8.A.10) were public records under the Act.  Finally, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held that a surveillance video depicting the actions that lead to the probable cause affidavit in support of the issuance of an arrest warrant is a public record under the Act. Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters v. City of Norman, 2016 OK 119.

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  • Oregon

    ORS 192.345(3) (former ORS 192.501(3)) requires disclosure of arrest records unless there is a “clear need to delay disclosure in the course of a specific investigation, including the need to protect the complaining party or victim.” Such arrest records must be disclosed when the need ceases.

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  • Pennsylvania

    65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(16)(vi)(A) suggests that an arrest records falls within its exemption because it would likely reveal the institution, progress or result of a criminal investigation prior to the filing of criminal charges.

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  • Rhode Island

    Records or reports reflecting the initial arrest of an adult and the charges or charges brought against any adult shall be public. R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(D).

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  • South Carolina

    Arrest warrants once executed are to be returned to the issuing court where they become judicial records subject to constitutionally protected access rights.  S.C. Code Ann. § 17-13-140.

    Data from a video or audio recording made by a law enforcement vehicle-mounted recording device or dashboard camera that involves an officer involved incident resulting in death, injury, property damage, or the use of deadly force has been made public information by the 2017 changes to SC FOIA. A law enforcement or public safety agency who has received a request for this data may apply to the circuit court for an order to prevent the disclosure. The agency is required to provide notice of the court hearing to the requester. An in-camera hearing must be requested within fifteen days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt of the request for disclosure and the court may order the recording data not be disclosed upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the recording is exempt from disclosure as specified in the police exemptions and that the reason for the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. A court may also order the recording data be edited to redact specific portions of the data and then released, upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that portions of the recording are not exempt from disclosure as specified in the police exemptions, Section 30-4-40(a)(3). A court order that withholds the release of recording data under this section must specify a definite time period for the withholding of the release of the recording data and must include the court’s findings and a copy of the order shall be made available to the person requesting the release of the recording data.

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  • South Dakota

    Open, presumably, but not from all sources, e.g. attorney general. SDCL §23-5-12.

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  • Texas

    The appellate court in Chronicle I denied the newspaper access to “Personal History and Arrest Records,” which contained personal information on individuals suspected of crimes and a listing of all offenses for which the person had ever been arrested. Houston Chronicle Publ’g  Co., 531 S.W.2d at 185. However, the Chronicle I court also concluded that “arrest sheets” containing arrestee’s name, race, age, place of arrest, names of arresting officers and offense for which suspect is arrested are required to be released. Id. at 179-80,188.

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  • Utah

    a. Arrest warrants after issuance are public records, although a court may restrict access to the warrant before service. Utah Code § 63G-2-301(3)(m).

    b. Search warrants after execution are public records, although a court may restrict access before trial. Id. § 63G-2-301(3)(n).

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  • Vermont

    “[R]ecords reflecting the initial arrest of a person, including any ticket, citation, or complaint issued for a traffic violation, as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 2302; and records reflecting the charge of a person shall be public.”  1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(5).

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  • Virginia

    Adult arrest records are subject to disclosure.  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3706.A.3.

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  • Washington

    The CRPA restricts access to pre-conviction and nonconviction records generally but not post-conviction records. Records of entry are accessible on a chronological basis, and records of those currently in the criminal justice system are not exempt. RCW 10.97.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wisconsin

    Records such as the police blotter reporting on arrests in chronological order are subject to inspection, but "rap sheets" compiling an individual's arrest history are probably not. Newspapers Inc. v. Breier, 89 Wis. 2d 417, 279 N.W.2d 179 (1979).

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  • Wyoming

    Open to the public.

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