Wisconsin Supreme Court: DOJ criminal background reports routinely defame innocent people

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has routinely been selling criminal history reports that defame innocent people, and must change how it does business, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The fractured 6-1 decision, in four opinions totaling 92 pages, comes years after Dennis Teague first sued over the fact anyone requesting the background check on him would get a report reflecting the criminal history of his cousin, who once gave police Teague's name as an alias.

"This is a slam dunk for us and innocent people around the state," said Jeff Myer, director of advocacy for Legal Action Wisconsin.

Legal Action attorney Sheila Sullivan, who filed the original action claiming DOJ's practices violated due process rights in 2010 in Dane County, said the decision means "this practice will stop and our clients’ reputations and integrity will be restored."

DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the department continuously works on improving the Record Check System, which processes about 1 million requests a year.

"DOJ is dedicated to providing the most accurate information possible to its customers, and has been evaluating future improvements that will address the concerns announced in today’s fractured decision," Koremenos said. FULL ARTICLE

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