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Dane County Pretrial Services

How to File an Open Records Request

Wisconsin State Statute books on a shelf

Pretrial Services is not an arm of law enforcement.

However, law enforcement may request GPS records. These types of requests are open records requests under Ch. 19.35 Wisconsin statutes.

Ch. 19.35(1)(h) notes that a request for records is deemed insufficient if it is made “without a reasonable limitation as to subject matter or length of time represented by the record.”

Records requests should:

  • Be narrowly tailored
  • Include the reason for the GPS data request
  • Include the date and time, or timeframe, and the exact address, if applicable

Open records requests must be in writing and, preferably, submitted to DCPS.RecordsRequest@countyofdane.com. Do not make requests directly to Pretrial Services’ staff. Staff will ensure that responses are processed in a timely fashion, in accordance with Ch. 19.35(4)(a), and that requests for records are subjected to the appropriate balancing test established in case law prior to release.

Records requests may be denied if unreasonable, too voluminous, and/or based on balancing clients’ rights against data requests. Pretrial Services’ clients maintain their right to privacy.

GPS data searches are not intended to provide data for the purpose of locating/identifying victims, witnesses, a person’s associates, or establishing geographical patterns of a person.

Examples of law enforcement GPS data requests

  • Criminal investigations where law enforcement personnel is looking to determine if any clients on supervision with Pretrial Services with GPS were in a specific location when a crime was allegedly committed.
  • Criminal investigations where law enforcement personnel is looking to determine if a specific client on Pretrial Services supervision with GPS has committed an alleged crime and is looking to see if the person’s GPS points matched with the time and location of the crime.
  • Criminal investigations where law enforcement personnel is looking to see if a former client’s historical GPS points matched with the time and location of an alleged crime.

How to Request Circuit Court Records

Violation Reports and Informational Reports filed in cases may be requested from the Dane County Clerk of Courts. Instructions for filing this request may be found here: Dane County Circuit Court Records Request.