Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wisc. Daily Sues Police Dept. for Alleged Open Records Law Abuses

Milwaukee Journal SentinelImage via Wikipedia
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has sued the city's police department for allegedly violating Wisconsin's Open Records Law ("WORL") [Wis. Stat. Sec. 19.31-19.39 (2003] by foot-dragging in producing documents and charging excessive fees.

As reported by the Web site of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (, Journal Sentinel reporters Gina Barton and Ben Poston  were informed by the police department that their respective requests for selected incident reports would cost $3,500 and $600. The paper also complained that their independent probe of police department crime statistics would be unduly delayed by the police department's purported claim that the records sought could take as long as nine months to retrieve because of time and manpower limitations.

Under Sec. (3)(A) of WORL,  an authority may impose a fee on a requester of a copy of a record that "may not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of reproduction and transcription of the record, unless a fee is otherwise specifically established or authorized to be established by law."
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