Back in July, I was patting Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel on the for actually upholding and supporting current laws concerning government open records (Why Is The Media Giving Attorney General Brad Schimel No Respect?). It was incredible that he remained immune to the GOP hysteria infecting the state capitol. But no more…but all of a sudden he has succumbed to the desire to block certain videos that he participated in that the courts say can be made public:
MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel wants to block the release of training videos he appears in, despite a state appeals court ruling that he make them public.
The Republican on Friday said he was asking the 2nd District Court of Appeals to put its decision from Wednesday on hold while he asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case.
The videos were made in 2009 and 2013 when Schimel was Waukesha County district attorney.
The Wisconsin Democratic Party sued last year for release of the videos.
Schimel said the recordings deal with sensitive subject matter related to training prosecutors.
But the appeals court says the content of the tapes was routine and there was no danger that law enforcement tactics or victims’ privacy would be compromised in releasing them.
Now I don’t know why the Democratic Party thinks these are noteworthy but from the court statements they don’t seem to be any kind of an issue…but after supporting open records laws in July, AG Schimel now wants to suppress these videos…in direct defiance of the courts.
But I am not the only one who’s taken notice…even the generally conservative (at least as far as state government is concerned) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has sat up and taken notice. Of course part of the issue is open records and open meeting laws are the bread and butter of working journalists:
Attorney General Brad Schimel on Friday moved to block the release of training videos he made when he was Waukesha County district attorney.
His attempt to keep the public from seeing the videos comes four months after he drew headlines for criticizing his fellow Republicans in the Legislature for attempting to put tight restrictions on the state’s open records law.
An appeals court unanimously ruled Wednesday that the state Department of Justice must release the videos he made in 2009 and 2013. In a statement, Schimel said he wanted to keep the videos out of the hands of the public because they include sensitive information about victims and explain how prosecutors investigate crimes.
Judges have rejected those arguments, saying information about the cases is already available to the public and the videos don’t show criminals how to evade investigation.
So open records are good…except when they involve you. We’ll see what the State Supreme Court has to say…what say you Judge Bradley?