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Dismissed charges must stay on CCAP

By Todd Richmond
Associated Press

Wisconsin court clerks must post all dismissed charges in CCAP, the committee that manages the database has decided.

Clerks in some counties have been wiping out charges dropped in plea deals from the system. The decision means database users will get the complete picture of the charges in a case from their desktops without driving to courthouses and poring through case files.

But Milwaukee County Clerk of Court John Barrett, a committee member, questioned whether listing all charges in a case would exacerbate what he called “the Scarlet Letter factor.”

“If every crazy charge is out there, are we somehow being unfair to people?” Barrett said. “Does this adversely impact individuals?”

Jean Bousquet, the database’s chief information officer, told the committee she feels the state should adopt a uniform policy and that keeping dismissed charges out of the system makes it look like officials are hiding something. She said that committee staff plans to “bury” dismissed charges by forcing a viewer to click through multiple links to get to them.

CCAP gets more than a million hits a day.

Sara Ward-Cassady, a state court advisor, wrote in a memo to Bousquet that the problem stems from the state court system’s policies on how to handle new charges in a case.

Essentially, if a district attorney files an amended charging document, clerks renumber the charges online as they appear on the new documents and erase the old charges from public view.

But prosecutors also amend charges orally. In those instances, the clerk doesn’t renumber them and the original counts are preserved.

The policies were meant to give a clearer picture of legally relevant counts, Ward-Cassady wrote.

A legislative study committee and the state Supreme Court are considering whether to remove online records of cases that are dismissed or in which a defendant is acquitted. Privacy supporters insist employers and landlords use the database to discriminate against innocent people and mean neighbors use it to gather dirt on their enemies.

But Vernon County Circuit Judge Michael Rosborough, another committee member, disputed that. He said there’s no evidence anyone hasn’t been hired because an employer looked up their criminal record on the database.

Jackson County Clerk of Courts Claudia Singleton argued that more information gives the public a better understanding of the case. She said she could envision someone calling her office demanding to know what happened to murder charges against a defendant.

Barrett finally agreed that more information is better, but said he wanted to include disclaimers on the case sites explaining why charges were amended. Bousquet asked him if he would help draft such language.

He agreed and in the end the committee voted unanimously to list all the charges.


  1. I am a victim of identity theft. The criminal used my name when charged. The charge was dismissed, but shows up on my record! Yes dismissed, but I was ordered into my supervisors office to explain the recent background check findings and why I was involved in or with this situation! Clearly, after working with them for 3 yrs they know my character, but they too were taken by surprise to see such a charge affiliated with me. It does not state it was dismissed because it was identity theft – just states dismissed! Not every situation is the Same so putting all dismissed charges on ccap is ridiculous and you would think this would be addresses differently. If one of the committee members were victims would this be addressed differently? I cannot afford an attorney and don’t feel as though I should be forced to pay for one for something I didn’t do!!!!! What’s your response to that Vernon county judge? Because Employers and landlords are not going to admit it but they do use that against people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think outside of the box for once!!!

  2. With over a million hits a day, I’m expected to believe that this is just being used for legal purposes, and not as a means to check up on employees/neighbors/relatives/tenants without having to provide any information to gain access to the system. I know of a business that actually runs checks on here and then uses the information (even in dismissed cases) to find other applicants. The system should have more requirements to gain access to it instead of just a name. I also do not understand why it gets crawled by Google for their search engine. This information should be made available to people who need access, and that access should require more information then just a name.

  3. i have several dismissed charges on my record as well as some convictions,as well as other peoples record showing up on CCAP. I was also promised if I successfully completed my probation I would be allowed to go back in front of a judge to get the charges removed, well that wasn’t the case they refused to remove it stating that they do not have control over removing this particular charge. I was once young and dumb like many and made bad decisions. none of my charges are felonies either. i also have a charge that was classified as a felony ( courts mistake) instead of removing the felony charge when brought to their attention they added it as a misdemeanor never removing the felony,so now it appears as if it was a felony that got dropped to a misdemeanor. I have had a clean record for six years now and have been given several positions before the employer did a background check and once background came back they declined on giving me the positions and none of the crimes were related to the job itself. Since i have changed my life I had a daughter, I enrolled in college with a graduation date of December,2015, I have grown so much since I changed my life and I was also young when I committed crimes,so am i wasting money on college because I wont get a job based of my criminal record? Do i deserve to pay for this for the rest of my life? I didn’t have a conscious when I lived such a way, but I do know and i deserve a chance to be successful and my daughter shouldn’t have to pay for my mistakes and if I cant land a decent job with a degree she will suffer too.There are a lot of people that genuinely change, and you have a lot that don’t. Communities would like crimes to stop but how can that happen when there is no way for a person with a criminal record to reintegrate back into the community and be a productive member of society. The same people who want a better community are the same people not willing to give true x-offenders the chance they need to prove their selves.I see this is something that isn’t a huge concern and there are no plans in play for changing the law on how this whole process is done. I payed for what I did, why didn’t they tell me three small misdemeanors would ruin my life? well maybe one day laws will change on this rapid growing problem, that actually makes crime rate higher. Very hurt by this and take out on myself constantly. I have truly changed and I cant seem to credit for it.

  4. I been threaten,falsely accussed of acts,been hit on physically,verbally abused by neighbors who read CCAP.Even my volunteer job,my boss harassed me,list goes on,who read CCAP for crimes I had found gulity or dismissed 20-38 years ago.But I was stabbed 8 times by a person I knew is not on CCAP, and I know rapists who are not listed.

  5. Yes, I can definitely say that there is plenty of personal discrimination and stigma that occurs due to being listed on CCAP, even for dismissed charges. I have lost much in my past 5 years due to false charges that were quickly dismissed, but everyone checks the CCAP when they meet someone new, and they ALL dump me, mostly without mentioned CCAP, but it is obvious. At first when i found this happening, I started to hide my last name, and the relationships lasted a month or two, everything on the up, then once my name was out there, gone. Now I put my name out there to begin with and let them check, saves me a lot of time, but I have gotten no where, 5 years of waste with no sign of change. A few have admitted to not wanting to see me after ‘checking’ so i give them credit at least for being honest. Getting tired of being useless, it is hard enough in the dating world as a single parent in 40s. I hear my friends in the same game who don’t have the lies dogging them, and they complain a lot, but they have it so much better than me, all for one reason.. I will forever be guilty.

    Thankfully I still have my same job and house and haven’t dealt with that discrimination, which I am absolutely sure exists.
    I have known two people high up in Administration/Human Resources at large companies in WI who have openly admitted that CCAP is first round check of applicants. Anyone listed for anything, shuffled to the bottom of the deck.

  6. I was falsely accused of child abuse from my ex-husband in a custody battle. Not only do I look like a child abuser, despite all charges being dismissed, I am morally bankrupt due to the inability to receive gainful employment. I get CCAP’ED and it’s done. I am college educated and have a professional long term employment record, until I was accused, then I was fired, of course for “other reason” that didn’t exist until the charges were filed, went financially bankrupt, lost my family home, my children still live full time with me, as the charges were so absurd, but I still was charged, it still shows up on CCAP and and now live on welfare because I cannot gain employment. I get the cold shoulder. I’m even considering changing my name legally. I have also had identity theft on 3 occasions for credit cards and fraud in my name because my information and current information is updated in the system. Why it’s updated, no clue, but I have no privacy on where I or my children live and I can’t get a decent job. So, since the state won’t take off my dismissed charges, the hard working people of the state pay for me to live and have more money than if I had a minimum wage job. I’m free and clear, but jobless, but with great credit. I can actually declare bankruptcy again next year and I have $70,000 worth of available credit. So, if CCAP would take off ALL dismissed charges, then I wouldn’t have to think like a dishonest person to survive financially.

  7. I also have been descriminated against because of dismissed cases on WCCA. Hard to get a job, an apartment, anything. WISCONSIN IS FULL OF STUCK UP SNOBS THAT NEED TO KNOW EVERYONES BUSINESS FOR THEIR ENTERTAINMENT.

  8. I dated a girl who was in a terrible relationship with her ex.. She was in a car accident and feed her tons of pain meds.. Then had her sign papers to sign the kids up for school however it was to relenquest custedy. COURTS excepted paperwork without a wiitness.. Long story yes as I dated her he calls child services.. ASK FOR a temporary child abuse restraining order as a power move which cost me 5000.00. In attorney fees I HAD done Nothing at all.. BUT DATE this girl.. -all dismissed. STILL ON MY RECORD AND I get questioned on it by employers.

  9. After advising a female manager of a local business that I would be calling the corporate office to discuss her very rude remarks and horribly unprofessional demeanor directed at my friend (a super shy & quiet person) who was being treated by a medical professional at that location she waited until we left and proceeded to call 911. When a police officer arrived she went on to make up an unbelievably malicious and 100% fabricated account of events causing me to be arrested and taken to jail for the 1st time in my life.
    Several media outlets printed the untrue and very damaging story online stating her wildly reckless allegations AND to add severe insult to horrific injury printed a color photo of my MUG SHOT.
    I was charged with a felony and a misdemeanor & faced over 6 years in prison and over $10k in fines all because of completely false and made up information that truly awful woman stated under under oath in her paper false police report. She somehow managed to talk the other young lady working there into swearing under oath that the verbal and written statements written by her were true and that she witnessed the “events”.
    I paid over $5k in defense attorney fees also a few thousand in fines and court costs all for things that never happened.
    Now I need to hire another attorney to assist me in several cease & desist letters for the slander, defamation and libel which has destroyed my reputation.
    I am still in complete shock that I was ever prosecuted. Believe me, the allegations were SO ridiculous I truly and honestly thought the judge would throw the case out during my first court hearing. Had I NOT hired criminal defense counsel I STRONGLY believe I would be in prison right now. It is truly frightening and unbelievable what people are capable and what people may do to in attempt to discredit you and destroy your life!
    I do not feel safe going anywhere anymore. This ordeal has been completely devastating and has destroyed my physical & mental health along with any previous quality of life I experienced before that woman retaliated against me and started this nightmare of events. I have been denied medical care and housing because of the made up stories and my CCAP felony charges (which people mostly believe there is SOME validity to as they are made public by somewhat respected newspapers / sources and online for the entire world to view).
    Note: I was never CONVICTED and the felony charges were eventually thrown out by the court but people often do NOT know the difference between CHARGES and CONVICTIONS and even when thrown out CCAP still shows them as part of an individuals PERMANENT RECORD.
    They say
    “Innocent until proven guilty” but believe me I am more American than the best and prettiest apple pie and to this point not even one person involved EVER treated me as though I was innocent.

  10. This is got to be the most dumb law I have ever seen. I was filing to take my kids mother to court for half placement taking the child support away cause it was being used on drugs so she finds out and I had grabbed my son by his cheek he got a thumb print on his cheek and the mother used that to get me slammed for felony child abuse intention to cause harm its so sad to see my kids father go down the tubes for something so minor 7 grand in fees 4 days jail and about over a year jobless and the good thing was supposed to be charged gets dismissed but was I ever wrong it stays on my record as if I was convicted and it mine as well be because once someone sees that in their head you just got a good attorney just thinks its a poor poor law

  11. What is the Wisconsin State statute/law number for this?

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