19.35 Annotation Under s. 19.21 (1), district attorneys must indefinitely preserve papers of a documentary nature evidencing activities of a prosecutor's office. 68 Atty. Gen. 17.
19.35 Annotation Discussing the right to examine and copy computer-stored information. 68 Atty. Gen. 231.
19.35 Annotation After the transcript of court proceedings is filed with the clerk of court, any person may examine or copy the transcript. 68 Atty. Gen. 313.
19.35 Note NOTE: The following annotations relate to this section.
19.35 Annotation Although a meeting was properly closed, in order to refuse inspection of records of the meeting, the custodian was required by sub. (1) (a) to state specific and sufficient public policy reasons why the public's interest in nondisclosure outweighed the right of inspection. Oshkosh Northwestern Co. v. Oshkosh Library Board, 125 Wis. 2d 480, 373 N.W.2d 459 (Ct. App. 1985).
19.35 Annotation Courts must apply the open records balancing test to questions involving disclosure of court records. The public interests favoring secrecy must outweigh those favoring disclosure. C.L. v. Edson, 140 Wis. 2d 168, 409 N.W.2d 417 (Ct. App. 1987).
19.35 Annotation Public records germane to pending litigation were available under this section even though the discovery cutoff deadline had passed. State ex rel. Lank v. Rzentkowski, 141 Wis. 2d 846, 416 N.W.2d 635 (Ct. App. 1987).
19.35 Annotation To uphold a custodian's denial of access, an appellate court will inquire whether the trial court made a factual determination supported by the record of whether documents implicate a secrecy interest and, if so, whether the secrecy interest outweighs the interests favoring release. Milwaukee Journal v. Call, 153 Wis. 2d 313, 450 N.W.2d 515 (Ct. App. 1989).
19.35 Annotation That releasing records would reveal a confidential informant's identity was a legally specific reason for denial of a records request. The public interest in not revealing the informant's identity outweighed the public interest in disclosure of the records. Mayfair Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc. v. Baldarotta, 162 Wis. 2d 142, 469 N.W.2d 638 (1991).
19.35 Annotation Items subject to examination under s. 346.70 (4) (f) may not be withheld by the prosecution under a common law rule that investigative material may be withheld from a criminal defendant. State ex rel. Young v. Shaw, 165 Wis. 2d 276, 477 N.W.2d 340 (Ct. App. 1991).
19.35 Annotation Prosecutors' files are exempt from public access under the common law. State ex rel. Richards v. Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429, 477 N.W.2d 608 (1991).
19.35 Annotation Records relating to pending claims against the state under s. 893.82 need not be disclosed under this section. Records of non-pending claims must be disclosed unless an in camera inspection reveals that the attorney-client privilege would be violated. George v. Record Custodian, 169 Wis. 2d 573, 485 N.W.2d 460 (Ct. App. 1992).
19.35 Annotation The public records law confers no exemption as of right on indigents from payment of fees under sub. (3). George v. Record Custodian, 169 Wis. 2d 573, 485 N.W.2d 460 (Ct. App. 1992).
19.35 Annotation The denial of a prisoner's information request regarding illegal behavior by guards on the grounds that it could compromise the guards' effectiveness and subject them to harassment was insufficient. State ex rel. Ledford v. Turcotte, 195 Wis. 2d 244, 536 N.W.2d 130 (Ct. App. 1995), 94-2710.
19.35 Annotation The amount of prepayment required for copies may be based on a reasonable estimate. State ex rel. Hill v. Zimmerman, 196 Wis. 2d 419, 538 N.W.2d 608 (Ct. App. 1995), 94-1861.
19.35 Annotation The Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429 (1991), decision does not automatically exempt all records stored in a closed prosecutorial file. The exemption is limited to material actually pertaining to the prosecution. Nichols v. Bennett, 199 Wis. 2d 268, 544 N.W.2d 428 (1996), 93-2480.
19.35 Annotation Department of Regulation and Licensing test scores were subject to disclosure under the open records law. Munroe v. Braatz, 201 Wis. 2d 442, 549 N.W.2d 451 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-2557.
19.35 Annotation Subs. (1) (i) and (3) (f) did not permit a demand for prepayment of $1.29 in response to a mail request for a record. State ex rel. Borzych v. Paluszcyk, 201 Wis. 2d 523, 549 N.W.2d 253 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-1711.
19.35 Annotation An agency cannot promulgate an administrative rule that creates an exception to the open records law. Chvala v. Bubolz, 204 Wis. 2d 82, 552 N.W.2d 892 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-3120.
19.35 Annotation While certain statutes grant explicit exceptions to the open records law, many statutes set out broad categories of records not open to an open records request. A custodian faced with such a broad statute must state with specificity a public policy reason for refusing to release the requested record. Chvala v. Bubolz, 204 Wis. 2d 82, 552 N.W.2d 892 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-3120.
19.35 Annotation The custodian is not authorized to comply with an open records request at some unspecified date in the future. Such a response constitutes a denial of the request. WTMJ, Inc. v. Sullivan, 204 Wis. 2d 452, 555 N.W.2d 140 (Ct. App. 1996), 96-0053.
19.35 Annotation Subject to the redaction of officers' home addresses and supervisors' conclusions and recommendations regarding discipline, police records regarding the use of deadly force were subject to public inspection. State ex rel. Journal/Sentinel, Inc. v. Arreola, 207 Wis. 2d 496, 558 N.W.2d 670 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-2956.
19.35 Annotation A public school student's interim grades are pupil records specifically exempted from disclosure under s. 118.125. If records are specifically exempted from disclosure, failure to specifically state reasons for denying an open records request for those records does not compel disclosure of those records. State ex rel. Blum v. Board of Education, 209 Wis. 2d 377, 565 N.W.2d 140 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-0758.
19.35 Annotation Requesting a copy of 180 hours of audiotape of 911 calls, together with a transcription of the tape and log of each transmission received, was a request without “reasonable limitation" and was not a “sufficient request" under sub. (1) (h). Schopper v. Gehring, 210 Wis. 2d 208, 565 N.W.2d 187 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-2782.
19.35 Annotation If the requested information is covered by an exempting statute that does not require a balancing of public interests, there is no need for a custodian to conduct such a balancing. Written denial claiming a statutory exception by citing the specific statute or regulation is sufficient. State ex rel. Savinski v. Kimble, 221 Wis. 2d 833, 586 N.W.2d 36 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-3356.
19.35 Annotation Protecting persons who supply information or opinions about an inmate to the parole commission is a public interest that may outweigh the public interest in access to documents that could identify those persons. State ex rel. Bergmann v. Faust, 226 Wis. 2d 273, 595 N.W.2d 75 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-2537.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (1) (b) gives the record custodian, and not the requester, the choice of how a record will be copied. The requester cannot elect to use the requester's own copying equipment without the custodian's permission. Grebner v. Schiebel, 2001 WI App 17, 240 Wis. 2d 551, 624 N.W.2d 892, 00-1549.
19.35 Annotation Requests for university admissions records focusing on test scores, class rank, grade point average, race, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic background were not requests for personally identifiable information, and release was not barred by federal law or public policy. That the requests would require the university to redact information from thousands of documents under s. 19.36 (6) did not essentially require the university to create new records and, as such, did not provide grounds for denying the request under sub. (1) (L). Osborn v. Board of Regents, 2002 WI 83, 254 Wis. 2d 266, 647 N.W.2d 158, 00-2861.
19.35 Annotation The police report of a closed investigation regarding a teacher's conduct that did not lead either to an arrest, prosecution, or any administrative disciplinary action was subject to release. Linzmeyer v. Forcey, 2002 WI 84, 254 Wis. 2d 306, 646 N.W.2d 811, 01-0197.
19.35 Annotation When a requested item is a public record under the open records law, and there is no statutory or common law exception, the open records law applies and the presumption of openness attaches to the record. The court must then decide whether that presumption can be overcome by a public policy favoring non-disclosure of the record. The fundamental question is whether there is harm to a public interest that outweighs the public interest in inspection of the record. A balancing test is applied on a case-by-case basis. If the harm to the public interest caused by release overrides the public interest in release, the inspection of the record may be prevented in spite of the general policy of openness. Linzmeyer v. Forcey, 2002 WI 84, 254 Wis. 2d 306, 646 N.W.2d 811, 01-0197.
19.35 Annotation The John Doe statute, s. 968.26, which authorizes secrecy in John Doe proceedings, is a clear statement of legislative policy and constitutes a specific exception to the public records law. On review of a petition for a writ stemming from a secret John Doe proceeding, the court of appeals may seal parts of a record in order to comply with existing secrecy orders issued by the John Doe judge. State ex rel. Unnamed Person No. 1 v. State, 2003 WI 30, 260 Wis. 2d 653, 660 N.W.2d 260, 01-3220.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (1) (am) is not subject to a balancing of interests. Therefore, the exceptions to sub. (1) (am) should not be narrowly construed. A requester who does not qualify for access to records under sub. (1) (am) will always have the right to seek records under sub. (1) (a), in which case the records custodian must determine whether the requested records are subject to a statutory or common law exception and, if not, whether the strong presumption favoring access and disclosure is overcome by some even stronger public policy favoring limited access or nondisclosure determined by applying a balancing test. Hempel v. City of Baraboo, 2005 WI 120, 284 Wis. 2d 162, 699 N.W.2d 551, 03-0500.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (1) (a) does not mandate that, when a meeting is closed under s. 19.85, all records created for or presented at the meeting are exempt from disclosure. The court must still apply the balancing test articulated in Linzmeyer, 2002 WI 84. Zellner v. Cedarburg School District, 2007 WI 53, 300 Wis. 2d 290, 731 N.W.2d 240, 06-1143.
19.35 Annotation A general request does not trigger the sub. (4) (c) review sequence. Sub. (4) (c) recites the procedure to be employed if an authority receives a request under sub. (1) (a) or (am). An authority is an entity having custody of a record. The definition does not include a reviewing court. Seifert v. School District, 2007 WI App 207, 305 Wis. 2d 582, 740 N.W.2d 177, 06-2071.
19.35 Annotation The open records law cannot be used to circumvent established principles that shield attorney work product, nor can it be used as a discovery tool. The presumption of access under sub. (1) (a) is defeated because the attorney work product qualifies under the “otherwise provided by law" exception. Seifert v. School District, 2007 WI App 207, 305 Wis. 2d 582, 740 N.W.2d 177, 06-2071.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (1) (am) 1. plainly allows a records custodian to deny access to one who is, in effect, a potential adversary in litigation or other proceeding unless or until required to do so under the rules of discovery in actual litigation. The balancing of interests under sub. (1) (a) must include examining all the relevant factors in the context of the particular circumstances and may include balancing the competing interests considered under sub. (1) (am) 1. when evaluating the entire set of facts and making its specific demonstration of the need for withholding the records. Seifert v. School District, 2007 WI App 207, 305 Wis. 2d 582, 740 N.W.2d 177, 06-2071.
19.35 Annotation The sub. (1) (am) analysis is succinct. There is no balancing. There is no requirement that the investigation be current for the exemption for records collected or maintained in connection with a complaint, investigation, or other circumstances that may lead to a court proceeding to apply. Seifert v. School District, 2007 WI App 207, 305 Wis. 2d 582, 740 N.W.2d 177, 06-2071.
19.35 Annotation “Record" in sub. (5) and s. 19.32 (2) does not include identical copies of otherwise available records. A copy that is not different in some meaningful way from an original, regardless of the form of the original, is an identical copy. If a copy differs in some significant way for purposes of responding to an open records request, then it is not truly an identical copy, but instead a different record. Stone v. Board of Regents, 2007 WI App 223, 305 Wis. 2d 679, 741 N.W.2d 774, 06-2537.
19.35 Annotation Schopper, 210 Wis. 2d 208 (1997), does not permit a records custodian to deny a request based solely on the custodian's assertion that the request could reasonably be narrowed, nor does Schopper require that the custodian take affirmative steps to limit the search as a prerequisite to denying a request under sub. (1) (h). The fact that the request may result in the generation of a large volume of records is not, in itself, a sufficient reason to deny a request as not properly limited, but at some point, an overly broad request becomes sufficiently excessive to warrant rejection under sub. (1) (h). State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, 2007 WI App 238, 306 Wis. 2d 247, 742 N.W.2d 530, 06-2455.
19.35 Annotation The public records law addresses the duty to disclose records; it does not address the duty to retain records. An agency's alleged failure to keep sought-after records may not be attacked under the public records law. Section 19.21 relates to records retention and is not a part of the public records law. State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, 2007 WI App 238, 306 Wis. 2d 247, 742 N.W.2d 530, 06-2455.
19.35 Annotation Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429 (1991), held that a common law categorical exception exists for records in the custody of a district attorney's office, not for records in the custody of a law enforcement agency. A sheriff's department is legally obligated to provide public access to records in its possession, which cannot be avoided by invoking a common law exception that is exclusive to the records of another custodian. That the same record is in the custody of both the law enforcement agency and the district attorney does not change the outcome. To the extent that a sheriff's department can articulate a policy reason why the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the interest in withholding the particular record, it may properly deny access. Portage Daily Register v. Columbia County Sheriff's Department, 2008 WI App 30, 308 Wis. 2d 357, 746 N.W.2d 525, 07-0323.
19.35 Annotation When requests are complex, municipalities should be afforded reasonable latitude in time for their responses. An authority should not be subjected to the burden and expense of a premature public records lawsuit while it is attempting in good faith to respond, or to determine how to respond, to a request. What constitutes a reasonable time for a response by an authority depends on the nature of the request, the staff and other resources available to the authority to process the request, the extent of the request, and other related considerations. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, 2008 WI 69, 310 Wis. 2d 397, 751 N.W.2d 736, 05-1473.
19.35 Annotation Employees' personal emails were not subject to disclosure in this case. Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District, 2010 WI 86, 327 Wis. 2d 572, 786 N.W.2d 177, 08-0967.
19.35 Annotation Under sub. (3) (a) to (d), 2011 stats., the legislature provided four tasks for which an authority may impose fees on a requester: 1) reproduction and transcription; 2) photographing and photographic processing; 3) locating; and 4) mailing or shipping. For each task, an authority is permitted to impose a fee that does not exceed the actual, necessary, and direct cost of the task. The process of redacting information from a record does not fit into any of those four statutory tasks. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. City of Milwaukee, 2012 WI 65, 341 Wis. 2d 607, 815 N.W.2d 367, 11-1112.
19.35 Annotation Redacted portions of emails, who sent the emails, and where they were sent from were not “purely personal" and therefore subject to disclosure. Public awareness of who is attempting to influence public policy is essential for effective oversight of our government. Whether a communication is sent to a public official from a source that appears associated with a particular unit of government, a private entity, or a nonprofit organization, or from individuals who may be associated with a specific interest or particular area of the state, from where a communication is sent further assists the public in understanding who is attempting to influence public policy and why. John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, Inc. v. Erpenbach, 2014 WI App 49, 354 Wis. 2d 61, 848 N.W.2d 862, 13-1187.
19.35 Annotation The record requester's identity was relevant in this case. As a general proposition, the identity and purpose of the requester of public records is not a part of the balancing test to be applied in determining whether to release records. However, the determination of whether there is a safety concern that outweighs the presumption of disclosure is a fact-intensive inquiry determined on a case-by-case basis. State ex rel. Ardell v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, 2014 WI App 66, 354 Wis. 2d 471, 849 N.W.2d 894, 13-1650.
19.35 Annotation In this case, although the commission's responses did not state that no record existed, that omission did not impair the court's ability to determine whether a statutory exemption to disclosure applied. Under the facts of the case, the commission lawfully denied the newspaper's request because no responsive record existed at the time of the request. Journal Times v. City of Racine Board of Police & Fire Commissioners, 2015 WI 56, 362 Wis. 2d 577, 866 N.W.2d 563, 13-1715.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (4) (a) does not require immediate disclosure of a record. It allows a custodian a reasonable amount of time to respond to a public records request. Journal Times v. City of Racine Board of Police & Fire Commissioners, 2015 WI 56, 362 Wis. 2d 577, 866 N.W.2d 563, 13-1715.
19.35 Annotation There is no obligation to create a record in response to an open records request, and a requester is not entitled to the release of information in response to a public records request. Journal Times v. City of Racine Board of Police & Fire Commissioners, 2015 WI 56, 362 Wis. 2d 577, 866 N.W.2d 563, 13-1715.
19.35 Annotation The question asked by the balancing test is whether there is a risk to the public if information is released, not whether there is a risk to an individual if the information is released. Voces De La Frontera, Inc. v. Clarke, 2016 WI App 39, 369 Wis. 2d 103, 880 N.W.2d 417, 15-1152.
19.35 AnnotationReversed on other grounds. 2017 WI 16, 373 Wis. 2d 348, 891 N.W.2d 803, 15-1152.
19.35 Annotation In applying the balancing test to a requested video in this case, the court concluded that the public interest in preventing release of specific police and prosecution strategies and techniques being taught and used in Wisconsin outweighed the general legislative presumption that public records should be disclosed. Because the video consisted almost entirely of police tactics and specific prosecution strategies in cases involving sexual exploitation of children, disclosure would result in public harm—if local criminals learn the specific techniques and procedures used by police and prosecutors, the disclosed information could be used to circumvent the law. The public policy factors favoring nondisclosure thus overcame the presumption in favor of disclosure. Democratic Party of Wisconsin v. Department of Justice, 2016 WI 100, 372 Wis. 2d 460, 888 N.W.2d 584, 14-2536.
19.35 Annotation The context of the records request, although not always relevant, was considered in this case. By asserting that, upon information and belief, several or all of the requested tapes in this case may have included offensive racial remarks and ethnic slurs, including but not limited to stereotyped accents, as well as sexist remarks, made by the attorney general when he was a district attorney, the language of the requester's petition in this case for a writ of mandamus suggested a partisan purpose underlying the request. When weighed against the likely harm to law enforcement's efforts to capture and convict sexual predators who target children, the justification offered for the request clearly did not tip the balance toward releasing the requested records. Democratic Party of Wisconsin v. Department of Justice, 2016 WI 100, 372 Wis. 2d 460, 888 N.W.2d 584, 14-2536.
19.35 Annotation The common law exception to disclosure for a prosecutor's case files discussed in Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429 (1991), applied in this case. Under Foust, a district attorney's closed files were not subject to the public records law based on the broad discretion a district attorney has in charging, the confidential nature of the contents of a file, and the threat disclosure poses to the orderly administration of justice. In this case, the prosecutor in charge of a sex extortion case discussed the prosecutor's thought processes for charging and walked through the case in a recorded educational presentation for prosecutors. The presentation was in great respect the oral equivalent of a prosecutor's closed case file. Democratic Party of Wisconsin v. Department of Justice, 2016 WI 100, 372 Wis. 2d 460, 888 N.W.2d 584, 14-2536.
19.35 Annotation A video requested in this case discussed the victims of a sex extortion case and the devastating impact of those crimes. Disclosing the recording would have reignited interest in the case and allowed identification in the same way it occurred the first time around. There was sufficient factual detail in the recording to easily connect the dots to identify the dozens of victims, who would have been re-traumatized should this case have resulted in a repeat exposure of their identities almost a decade after those events occurred. Disclosure leading to revictimization would have run afoul of Wisconsin's constitutional commitment to treating victims with “fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy" under article I, section 9m, of the Wisconsin Constitution. Democratic Party of Wisconsin v. Department of Justice, 2016 WI 100, 372 Wis. 2d 460, 888 N.W.2d 584, 14-2536.
19.35 Annotation When the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) had received detailed and specific complaints of past coercion in other certification elections, a WERC employee lawfully performed the balancing test in concluding that the public interest in elections free from voter intimidation and coercion outweighed the public interest in favor of openness of public records. The public interest in certification elections that are free from intimidation and coercion is evidenced by the requirement that those elections be conducted by secret ballot and free from prohibited practices. The public interest in elections that are free from intimidation and coercion outweighs the public interest in favor of open public records under the circumstances presented in this case. Madison Teachers, Inc. v. Scott, 2018 WI 11, 379 Wis. 2d 439, 906 N.W.2d 436, 16-2214.
19.35 Annotation Sub. (3) (a) defers to other statutes that specifically authorize records custodians to charge fees for records that differ from the fees that the open records law itself authorizes. Section 343.24 (2m) grants the Department of Transportation (DOT) authority to charge parties for inspecting accident reports. Therefore, the requester was not entitled to free access to DOT's database because both Wisconsin open records law and statutory authority permit DOT to charge access fees for certain records and because case law has held that the right to access records does not extend to the right to access databases. Media Placement Services, Inc. v. DOT, 2018 WI App 34, 382 Wis. 2d 191, 913 N.W.2d 224, 17-0791.
19.35 Annotation The second sentence in sub. (1) (b) only applies to a requester who appears in person. Lueders v. Krug, 2019 WI App 36, 388 Wis. 2d 147, 931 N.W.2d 898, 18-0431.
19.35 Annotation When a requester requests records in electronic form, providing access to only paper printouts of those records is not a satisfactory response to the request. Lueders v. Krug, 2019 WI App 36, 388 Wis. 2d 147, 931 N.W.2d 898, 18-0431.
19.35 Annotation In this case, the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion when it ordered the plaintiff parents, if they wished to proceed, to file under seal and pursuant to a protective order an amended complaint stating their identities such that their identities would be disclosed only to the court and the attorneys for the litigants. Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District, 2021 WI App 60, 399 Wis. 2d 102, 963 N.W.2d 823, 20-1032.
19.35 AnnotationAffirmed. 2022 WI 65, 403 Wis. 2d 369, 976 N.W.2d 584, 20-1032.
19.35 Annotation A records custodian must determine whether the surrounding factual circumstances create an exceptional case not governed by the strong presumption of openness. An exceptional case exists when the facts are such that the public policy interest favoring nondisclosure outweigh the public policy interests favoring disclosure. The public has a strong interest in being informed about its public officials and whether those officials have engaged in misconduct. Those interests cannot be outweighed simply by the fact that an official played a minor role in an improper search. Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Ass'n v. County of Milwaukee County Clerk, 2021 WI App 80, 399 Wis. 2d 769, 967 N.W.2d 185, 20-2028.
19.35 Annotation In this case, the school district failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that the public interest in keeping parent email addresses secret—and preserving them solely for the district's broad use—outweighed the strong public policy in favor of releasing these public records. Gierl v. Mequon-Thiensville School District, 2023 WI App 5, 405 Wis. 2d 757, 985 N.W.2d 116, 21-2190.
19.35 Annotation Specific reasons why each document warrants confidentiality are necessary to provide the requester with sufficient notice of the grounds for denial to enable the requester to prepare a challenge to the withholding. In this case, the custodian's application of the balancing test fell short because it did not describe the records that were responsive to the requests and then apply the balancing test to each record individually to explain why it was not disclosed. The absence of record-specific policy reasons for denial was particularly problematic here, because the differing natures of the three documents implicated different levels of public interest. Furthermore, in failing to apply the balancing test to each document, the custodian effectively used a blanket or automatic denial rule that applied to all records related to certain types of complaints. A blanket rule is not a proper application of the balancing test. Wisconsin State Journal v. Blazel, 2023 WI App 18, 407 Wis. 2d 472, 991 N.W.2d 450, 21-1196.
19.35 Annotation The presumption of the public records law is that members of the public are entitled to evaluate public records for themselves and are not required to trust in a governmental authority's selective summaries. An authority's statement about its own evaluation of the requested records and its own judgment about the public relevance of those records is no substitute for a proper response to a public records request. Wisconsin State Journal v. Blazel, 2023 WI App 18, 407 Wis. 2d 472, 991 N.W.2d 450, 21-1196.
19.35 Annotation A legitimate public policy consideration for a records custodian to use in making possible redactions in the context of an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint can be the need to avoid creating chilling effects limiting complaints. But that proposition provides no support for declining to release even redacted versions of records. When victims and witnesses have a strong privacy interest in protecting their privacy, that public interest substantially outweighs the public interest in disclosure of their names. Wisconsin State Journal v. Blazel, 2023 WI App 18, 407 Wis. 2d 472, 991 N.W.2d 450, 21-1196.
19.35 Annotation Notice of Voting Eligibility forms used to make the report required under s. 54.25 (2) (c) 1. g. regarding restrictions to an individual's voting rights as a result of a court's finding of incompetency in a guardianship proceeding are court records pertinent to the finding of incompetency and therefore are barred from disclosure under s. 54.75 and the public records law. Wisconsin Voter Alliance v. Reynolds, 2023 WI App 66, 410 Wis. 2d 335, 1 N.W.3d 748, 22-1749.
19.35 Annotation A custodian may not require a requester to pay the cost of an unrequested certification. Unless the fee for copies of records is established by law, a custodian may not charge more than the actual and direct cost of reproduction. 72 Atty. Gen. 36.
19.35 Annotation Copying fees, but not location fees, may be imposed on a requester for the cost of a computer run. 72 Atty. Gen. 68.
19.35 AnnotationDiscussing the fee for copying public records. 72 Atty. Gen. 150.
19.35 Annotation Public records relating to employee grievances are not generally exempt from disclosure. Nondisclosure must be justified on a case-by-case basis. 73 Atty. Gen. 20.
19.35 Annotation Discussing the disclosure of an employee's birthdate, sex, ethnic heritage, and handicapped status. 73 Atty. Gen. 26.
19.35 Annotation The Department of Regulation and Licensing may refuse to disclose records relating to complaints against health care professionals while the matters are merely “under investigation." Good faith disclosure of the records will not expose the custodian to liability for damages. Prospective continuing requests for records are not contemplated by public records law. 73 Atty. Gen. 37.
19.35 AnnotationProsecutors' case files are exempt from disclosure. 74 Atty. Gen. 4.
19.35 Annotation Discussing the relationship between the public records law and pledges of confidentiality in settlement agreements. 74 Atty. Gen. 14.
19.35 Annotation Discussing a computerized compilation of bibliographic records in relation to copyright law. A requester is entitled to a copy of a computer tape or a printout of information on the tape. 75 Atty. Gen. 133.
19.35 Annotation Ambulance records relating to medical history, condition, or treatment are confidential while other ambulance call records are subject to disclosure under the public records law. 78 Atty. Gen. 71.
19.35 Annotation Courts are likely to require disclosure of legislators' mailing and distribution lists absent a factual showing that the public interest in withholding the records outweighs the public interest in their release. OAG 2-03.
19.35 Annotation If a legislator custodian decides that a mailing or distribution list compiled and used for official purposes must be released under the public records statute, the persons whose names, addresses, or telephone numbers are contained on the list are not entitled to notice and the opportunity to challenge the decision prior to release of the record. OAG 2-03.
19.35 Annotation Access Denied: How Woznicki v. Erickson Reversed the Statutory Presumption of Openness in the Wisconsin Open Records Law. Munro. 2002 WLR 1197.
19.356 19.356 Notice to record subject; right of action.
19.356(1)(1)Except as authorized in this section or as otherwise provided by statute, no authority is required to notify a record subject prior to providing to a requester access to a record containing information pertaining to that record subject, and no person is entitled to judicial review of the decision of an authority to provide a requester with access to a record.
19.356(2) (2)
19.356(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in pars. (b) to (d) and as otherwise authorized or required by statute, if an authority decides under s. 19.35 to permit access to a record specified in this paragraph, the authority shall, before permitting access and within 3 days after making the decision to permit access, serve written notice of that decision on any record subject to whom the record pertains, either by certified mail or by personally serving the notice on the record subject. The notice shall briefly describe the requested record and include a description of the rights of the record subject under subs. (3) and (4). This paragraph applies only to the following records:
19.356(2)(a)1. 1. A record containing information relating to an employee that is created or kept by the authority and that is the result of an investigation into a disciplinary matter involving the employee or possible employment-related violation by the employee of a statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or policy of the employee's employer.
19.356(2)(a)2. 2. A record obtained by the authority through a subpoena or search warrant.
19.356(2)(a)3. 3. A record prepared by an employer other than an authority, if that record contains information relating to an employee of that employer, unless the employee authorizes the authority to provide access to that information.
19.356(2)(b) (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to an authority who provides access to a record pertaining to an employee to the employee who is the subject of the record or to his or her representative to the extent required under s. 103.13 or to a recognized or certified collective bargaining representative to the extent required to fulfill a duty to bargain or pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement under ch. 111.
19.356(2)(c) (c) Paragraph (a) does not apply to access to a record produced in relation to a function specified in s. 106.54 or 230.45 or subch. II of ch. 111 if the record is provided by an authority having responsibility for that function.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 272 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on July 9, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after July 9, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 7-9-24)