Openness Report

The Wisconsin Openness Report, a weekly newsletter produced by the WNA, highlights coverage of public records, open meetings and First Amendment issues. If you’ve recently written a story about open government or free speech, please email us at Julia.Hunter@wnanews.com.

Grafton eyeing change to open records policy

GRAFTON – The village of Grafton is considering a policy that would charge for the staff time involved with fulfilling open records requests, the (Cedarburg) News Graphic has reported. The move comes as the number of open records inquiries has increased, wrote the News Graphic‘s Melanie Boyung. According to the state’s public records law, fees are limited…

Judge orders Sauk County to release records to newspaper

BARABOO – In a 32-page decision filed Friday, a Green Lake County judge sharply criticized Sauk County officials over repeatedly denying records requests from the Baraboo News Republic. The newspaper filed a lawsuit in 2017 seeking documents related to the death of a man on government-condemned land. Controversies over the hiring and firing of the county’s top…

Ozaukee Press rejects judge’s retraction demand

PORT WASHINGTON – In the latest twist to a bizarre courthouse saga, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland has demanded the (Port Washington) Ozaukee Press retract stories published about the investigations he prompted and their conclusions, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Voiland claims the stories were false and libelous. “This just fits his pattern of…

Former priest accused of molesting young boys arrested following records request

HAYWARD – Eight years after the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a former Catholic priest accused of molesting at least three boys in the 1980s, he has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a child. The charges came two weeks after USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin filed an open records request with Sawyer County District Attorney Bruce Poquette. Because of…

Ozaukee County Judge sues chief judge amid open records dispute

WAUKESHA – Ozaukee County Judge Joe Voiland, whose 2016 misconduct claims against county court officials led to two investigations, has filed a lawsuit against another judge in the latest twist to the bizarre courthouse saga, Eric Litke of the (Appleton) Post-Crescent has reported. A 15-month state Department of Justice inquiry ended abruptly in September 2017 when Voiland stopped cooperating. Chief…