Wednesday, December 12, 2018

News media wins right to challenge open records case seal

  • Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz presides over the initial hearing for Alderman Sandy Weidner's contempt of court case at the Racine County Courthouse on Sept. 25. On Dec. 5, the Court of Appeals ruled that Gasiorkiewicz must decide which documents should remain sealed and which should be opened to the pubic after news media brought about a challenge to the decision to seal the case and triumphed.

    RACINE — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently made a decision that could at least partially lift the veil of secrecy regarding an open-records case filed by Racine Alderman Sandy Weidner that was completely sealed to the public.
    On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the Court of Appeals ruled that Racine County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz should determine which specific documents involving the case, if any, should remain sealed.
    The motion to challenge the case’s seal was brought by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today Network-Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
    “The reasoning behind the seal orders and open-records decision remains unknown to the public. Indeed, all pleadings are under seal, and even the docket is unavailable for viewing by order of Judge Gasiorkiewicz,” the motion stated.
    The City of Racine opposed the motion. However, the Court of Appeals agreed that news media had the right to challenge the seal.

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    What a waste of resources.  Eugene and the bearded lady must go!

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