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September 22, 2013
Is there a more valuable website in the State of Wisconsin than CCAP? I think not! CCAP is essentially the clerk of courts office on-line, where anyone can view it.
Now, according to an article in the Wisconsin Law Journal, a legislator is proposing to severely limit its use.
Of course, proposals like this have been made ever since CCAP went online and so far, fortunately, none have been successful.
The main argument for limiting CCAP is that it reflects charges, including criminal cases and requests for restraining orders even in cases where a defendant was acquitted or the restraining order not granted.
But, these action, be it a “not guilty” verdict or a failure to grant a restraining order are duly reflected on CCAP. All CCAP does is to take records which used to be able to be accessed almost only by lawyers who knew where to go in the courthouse and make them easily available to everyone.
CCAP contains only public records. Absent CCAP, anyone can still learn about a criminal case or restraining order – it just take a lot more effort.
This is an issue of simple democracy. Why should public records be restricted to only those lawyers who know where to go and how to get them? Rather, shouldn’t public records be just that – public. And, the legislature should trust the people who elected them to understand the difference between “guilty” and “not guilty.”