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How to Request Public Records From

The Wisconsin State Public Defender 

The Office of the State Public Defender (SPD) is responsible for the legal representation of indigent persons who are accused of crimes, petitioned mentally ill, facing termination of parental rights, or involved in juvenile court proceedings. The SPD has jurisdiction and offices throughout the entire State of Wisconsin and provides representation at both the trial and appellate levels. 

Access to the public records of the SPD is provided by the Administrative office. Members of the public may obtain access to SPD’s Public Records, or obtain copies of these records, by making a request of SPD’s Custodian of Public Records during the SPD’s office hours of Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Such requests should be made to: 

Legal Counsel- Records Custodian 

Wisconsin State Public Defender 

17 S. Fairchild, 5th Floor 

P.O. Box 7923 

Madison, WI 53707-7923 


Requests for public records should state specifically the information that is being requested. In addition, the requestor should allow the SPD time to locate and retrieve the records. 

The law permits the SPD to impose fees for certain “actual, necessary and direct” costs associated with responding to public records requests. SPD may bill requestors $0.15 per printed page. In rare instances, specialized skills, equipment, or technology may result in additional copy costs. The SPD does not charge for converting paper records t o electronic format. If records are provided on a CD or DVD, the SPD may charge $0.14 per disc. When requested and whenever practicable, the SPD will provide electronic copies of records that already exist in electronic format without charging reproduction fees on a per-page basis. However, if the record requested is not in a readily comprehensible form (e.g. computer file, database entry), the SPD may charge the actual cost of creating a readily comprehensible copy. The SPD will not charge for the cost of reviewing records for possible redaction or removal of confidential information. 

The SPD may charge the actual, necessary, and direct costs of locating the records if it exceeds $50. Any staff time for locating records will be billed at the hourly rate of salary for the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the task. The hourly rate charged for locating records may also include the cost of benefits, but will not exceed $30 per hour except in rare instances. If the records are mailed or shipped to the requester, the SPD may charge the actual, necessary and direct mailing or shipping cost. 

The above fees apply except when a different fee is authorized by law. The SPD may request prepayment if the total costs are greater than $5. 

Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 19.34(1)

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