Kenosha County Sheriff David W. Zoerner has rejected a massive overhaul to the online Kenosha County Jail inmate roster. The Kenosha County Jail’s steering committee recommended to the Sheriff that he only display current inmates on the search. This would mean, that if someone was arrested at 2:00 am, but bails out at 3:00 am, few people would ever learn of the arrest. The steering committee is comprised of members of Kenosha Police, Kenosha Sheriff, Joint Services and Kenosha Fire. The committee considered one problem that the inmate roster creates – innocent people’s data. When someone is arrested, they are photographed and fingerprinted. The Kenosha DA’s office could decide not to charge them. They could also face a jury of their peers, and be found not guilty. Charges could be dismissed. For these people, their booking information and mugshot remain online. It is still a public records and the Sheriff’s Department isn’t doing anything wrong here. However, there is a process for someone to get their booking information and mugshot off of this website. According to the Wisconsin DOJ, you may have your arrest record purged if the following applies:
1) found to be not guilty, 2) the charges were dismissed by the court or prosecutor, or 3) no charges were filed by the prosecutor
Once the Wisconsin Department of Justice purges your arrest(s), you can provide that document to the Sheriff’s Department and they will take down your booking info and mugshot. It is important to know, however that the police report, mugshot, and booking data still has to be released by the Sheriff to anyone who requests it – it just won’t be openly displayed.
Chief Deputy Justin Miller told KCE today that he wants to educate the public more thoroughly about how people in these categories can have this information removed. Miller told KCE that the key players in the criminal justice system were not contacted during the steering committees’ decision. He says that has now occurred. “The negatives that would come from this change out weigh the positives of having the system up. That’s why I recommended that the Sheriff keeps things the way they are.”
“I thank the committee for bringing this important matter up. I will not be changing the roster at this time,” said Sheriff Zoerner.
Criminal defense attorneys like Michael Cicchini and Eric Olson use the roster almost every day. “I use the roster for many reasons. It is the best tool for determining sentencing credit for clients. I can see the date of booking and date of release. Prosecutors use it too. It makes it easy for us to agree to the length of time served when it’s right there in black and white,” said Attorney Cicchini. “I’m glad that the Sheriff is keeping this in place,” said Attorney Eric Olson. “I’m also elated that he kept video calls from attorneys to inmates free of charge. It really helps me stay connected to my clients when in-person visits are not available due to illness, etc.” Judges use this system as well as the media.
In 2017, the jail roster switched to a new system. Miller told KCE that this system will stay up.