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According to Wisconsin's Public Records Law, government authorities have custody over public records. The law states that "Authority means any of the following having custody of a record: a state or local office, elective official, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department or public body corporate and politic created by the constitution or by any law, ordinance, rule or order; a governmental or quasi-governmental corporation except for the Bradley center sports and entertainment corporation; a special purpose district; any court of law; the assembly or senate; a nonprofit corporation which receives more than 50 percent of its funds from a county or a municipality, as defined in s. 59.001 (3), and which provides services related to public health or safety to the county or municipality, a university police department under s. 175.42, or a formally constituted subunit of any of the foregoing."
Some examples of government authorities would include the courts, the Secretary of State's Office, law enforcement agencies, city council offices, local town offices, and others. The people who work for these agencies create, store, maintain and share public records.
"Record means any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual, or electromagnetic information or electronically generated or stored data is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that has been created or is being kept by an authority. "Record" includes, but is not limited to, handwritten, typed, or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes, optical discs, and any other medium on which electronically generated or stored data is recorded or preserved."
The Wisconsin State Archives and State Records office preserves all historical public records for the state. Their mission is to "The Wisconsin Historical Society has a statutory responsibility to collect, maintain and make available for use, permanently valuable records of Wisconsin's state government." Some of their collections include:
The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration oversees a lot of government authorities. They provide explicit instructions on how to request public records. Here are the basic guidelines:
If you have difficulty getting the records you need, contact their office, and they can help file an appeal.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice has created an online system of fingerprint and name-based criminal records. You can use this service to review the criminal history of someone easily. The information comes from the courts and law enforcement agencies and includes arrests, arrest charges, prosecution, court findings, sentences, and state correctional system admissions and releases. Wisconsin calls this tool the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS). This office also handles criminal records challenges and corrections. Note that some information is not editable, even though it may be incorrect.
Some common types of criminal records in Wisconsin include (but are not limited to):
The Wisconsin Court System has set up an online case search portal so that the public can review public Court records in Wisconsin from Circuit Courts and the Supreme Court. They call this system the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) Case Management system. According to their website, "These records are open to public view under Wisconsin's open records law, sections 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes."
Some types of court records in Wisconsin include:
The court system in Wisconsin consists of four levels, with the top being the Supreme Court. After that, there is the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and the Municipal Court.
Anyone can easily look up Wisconsin arrest records by using The Wisconsin Department of Justice online criminal records check system. They offer criminal history, including arrests, arrest charges, prosecution, court findings, sentences, and state correctional system admissions and releases. You can also check the court's online portal and the Department of Corrections for information regarding arrests in Wisconsin.
Some different types of arrests records in Wisconsin are:
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is the government agency in charge of vital records for the state. Their mission is stated as "filing, preserving, protecting, changing, and issuing copies of birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, and records of declaration of domestic partnership and termination of domestic partnership for events that occur in Wisconsin." You can request records in person, through the mail, or online. They use the VitalChek network.
Along with criminal, court, arrest, and vital records, other types of public records you can find in the state of Wisconsin include, but are not limited to:
In Wisconsin, not all records are public. Wisconsin's public records law has dozens of exceptions to the rule. Some of them include: