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CCAP Is Under Attack Once Again

Posted by Tristan R. Pettit, Esq. in CCAP / Comments

A panel tasked with providing guidance to the Director of State Courts has recommended that certain information on Wisconsin's Circuit Court Access site (often referred to as CCAP) should be removed in certain situations. The recommendations made include:

  • Any felony charges brought against a person which were later dismissed or where the defendant was acquitted of the charges would be removed from CCAP after 1-2 years.
  • Any misdemeanor charges brought against a person which were later dismissed or where the defendant was acquitted of the charges would be removed from CCAP after half of the time prescribed for felonies.
  • Any record of a dismissed or denied domestic abuse, child abuse, individual at risk, or harassment injunctions would be removed after 2-4 years.

BUT most importantly for landlords is the following proposal:

  • Any stipulated dismissal of a small claims lawsuit, including evictions, would be removed after 2 years.

Interestingly, these changes would only affect the posting of the information on CCAP, not the actual physical file. The actual physical records would still be available for viewing and photocopying in the courthouse. As one commentator stated, "So the real effect of this proposal is to make it more difficult to access these records."

Of particular concern to landlords would be the proposal that any stipulated dismissal in an eviction action would be removed after 2 years.

If an eviction is dismissed outright, that is one thing, as the landlord either failed to appear in court, failed to meet his or her burden of proof, or made a technical or procedural mistake resulting in the eviction being dismissed. However, stipulated dismissals are much different. A landlord may choose to enter into a stipulated dismissal of his or her eviction action for many reasons, but the fact of the matter is that the tenant still breached his or her lease and then refused to vacate which necessitated the filing of the eviction.

The removal of stipulated dismissals from CCAP will affect a landlord vetting a potential tenant during the screening process. Specifically, if the proposed recommendations are followed, a landlord will not be able to find any CCAP record of any eviction action being filed against a rental applicant that the landlord is screening even if that person did have an eviction or evictions filed against them, as long as the eviction/s were resolved via a stipulated dismissal and two years have passed.

If you are not in favor of these proposed changes to CCAP you should contact your elected officials. To find state legislators only you can go to Find Your Legislator This site allows you to simply click a button to use your current location to find those reps.

If you want local officials as well as available social media contacts for all your elected officials, then I recommend Who Are My Representatives. This site does not list Milwaukee Aldermen, however.

Tristan is a shareholder with the law firm of Petrie+Pettit and focuses his practice in the area of landlord-tenant law representing landlords and property management companies throughout Wisconsin.

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