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Crime & Courts

Gov. Walker signs bill restricting access to court records

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published February 26, 2016

A bill that removes online access to criminal case records involving defendants who have been acquitted of crimes, as well as dismissed or dropped cases, was signed into law by Gov. Bill Walker on Friday.

Walker signed House Bill 11 about two weeks after it was sent to his desk. The bill will take effect Oct. 1.

Under the bill, court records are erased from the online system CourtView after 60 days for people whose cases are dropped or dismissed, or if they're found not guilty. Paper copies of the records will remain available at state courthouses.

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, introduced the bill during last year's legislative session, and it passed the House on April 9, 2015, by a vote of 34-5. The Senate passed the bill Jan. 27 by a vote of 19-1.

Wilson said the bill champions the principle "innocent until proven guilty." Publicly posting a person's name and the charges they faced has dire consequences to that person's livelihood, she said.

A similar bill introduced during the 28th Legislature won approval among lawmakers but former Gov. Sean Parnell vetoed it, saying the bill went too far in making court records secret.

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