HB 0135 Confidentiality of Certain Information
Sponsor:BACKER Handling House Bill:SCHNEIDER
Committee:JUDI LR Number:S0756.02T
Last Action:07/05/95 - Signed by Governor
Title:SCS/HB 135
Effective Date:August 28, 1995
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Current Bill Summary

SCS/HB 135 - This act requires law enforcement agencies to keep records of arrests, incidents and investigations and to make certain records public.

The terms arrest report, incident report and investigative report are defined. An incident report consists of the basic facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime. An investigative report consists of a record prepared in response to an incident report or evidence developed by law enforcement. All incident reports are public records, including incident reports made pursuant to a 911 emergency call, unless a portion of such a report, if made public, is reasonably likely to: 1) create a danger to a victim, witness, officer or other individual; 2) jeopardize a criminal investigation, including the identity of a confidential source; or 3) disclose techniques or procedures for law enforcement investigations. If a record is within one of these categories, that portion of the record shall be closed. An individual, his attorney, or his insurer, who is involved in an incident may request that the law enforcement agency release those records to him. However, the agency may petition the court to keep such records closed if opening the records would create a danger to an individual or an investigation. The court shall rule on such motion and open only those records consistent with the provisions of this act. These provisions are adapted from SB 46.

Any person may bring an action in circuit court to open investigative reports which would otherwise be closed. In ruling on such an action, the court shall consider whether the benefit of releasing the information outweighs the harm. The court shall assess attorney's fees and costs on the individual unless it finds the agency was unjustified in closing the records, in which case the agency shall bear the costs.

An individual may also bring an action to open incident and arrest reports that are being unlawfully closed. If the court finds for the individual by a preponderance of the evidence, the officer or agency unlawfully closing such record shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars and costs.

Any victim may request that his/her identity be kept confidential until a charge is filed.

All law enforcement agencies that maintain a daily log that lists suspected crimes, accidents or complaints shall make such information open to the public. This log will include requests made of the agency and the agency's response to those requests. Incident report information available to the public shall include: 1) the date, time and location of the occurrence; 2) the name and age of any victim who is not a victim of a sex crime; 3) the factual circumstances; and 4) a general description of any injuries, property or weapons involved.

EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS - Arrest records may be expunged, in addition to other factors, if the subject of the arrest: 1) has no prior or subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions; 2) did not receive a suspended imposition of sentence for an offense related to the arrest; and 3) if no civil action relating to the arrest or arrest records sought to be expunged is pending.

CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS - This act makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a translator to divulge information relayed between a person who can hear and a person who is deaf or speech impaired. The contents of any communications made through an assistive listening device are inadmissible as evidence of those communications or the contents of those communications, unless such communications would be admissible if not made with such auxiliary aids. This act does not preclude the interception of wire communications pursuant to a court order.