Both Wisconsin’s Legislature and its Supreme Court are considering plans to restrict online access to court records, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court justices agreed last month that they should consider limiting information posted on the Consolidated Court Automation Programs Web site, which lists cases heard in the state court system.
Legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Marlin Schneider would identify only those convicted of a crime, held responsible in civil cases, evicted or served with a restraining order or injunction. Court records for pending cases or parties found not guilty would be accessible to a small group that includes journalists, law enforcement and real estate agents.
Those in favor of the move to restrict CCAP say misinterpretation of the information results in employment and housing discrimination, and the Wisconsin State Bar has asked the Supreme Court to make expunging records easier.
Proponents of keeping CCAP information unrestricted point to the fact that the site identifies cases that have been dismissed and note the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
"I have just not been persuaded in my experience the widespread and wholesale discrimination that people allege is really happening," Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, told the Journal Sentinel.