Judge rules against blacked-out police reports

CREATED Mar 21, 2014

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NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has ruled police must not black out personal information on accident or crime reports.

St. Croix County Judge Howard Cameron ruled Thursday in favor of the New Richmond News.
   
The newspaper sued the City of New Richmond alleging police were redacting -- or blacking out -- too much information, a violation of Wisconsin's open records law. The judge agreed.
   
An increasing number of Wisconsin agencies are redacting personal information on reports after a federal appeals court ruling in an Illinois case. But Cameron ruled the Driver's Privacy Protection Act does not require that information to be redacted.
   
The Wisconsin Newspaper Association is asking the City of New Richmond not to appeal. A phone message left at the city administrator's office after hours was not immediately returned Friday.