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.
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