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UPDATE: Wis. Court: Government Can't Charge for Redactions

UPDATED Wednesday, June 27, 2012 --- 11:13 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Supreme Court says government entities can't charge the public for redacting confidential information from records.

The ruling settles a dispute between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper and the Milwaukee Police Department. The newspaper sued the department after the agency charged it thousands of dollars to cover staff time spent redacting information from hundreds of reports the newspaper had requested.

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote in a ruling released Wednesday that charging such fees equates to denying access to government records. She went on to say Wisconsin's open records law allows record custodians to charge for reproducing, photographing, locating and shipping records. Redacting information doesn't fit into any of those categories.

A message left at the Milwaukee city attorney's office wasn't immediately returned.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 --- 6:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Supreme Court is poised to decide how much government entities can charge the public for processing open record requests.

The case centers around an open records request the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel filed with the Milwaukee Police Department seeking hundreds of reports. The department told the newspaper it would have to pay about $4,000 to cover staff time spent reviewing and redacting sensitive information from the records.

The newspaper filed a lawsuit challenging the fees. The city argued two Supreme Court rulings over the last decade grant it authority to charge such fees. A circuit court judge sided with the city.

The Supreme Court is expected to release a ruling in the case Wednesday morning.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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