Wisconsin court: Criminal history checks lead to defamation

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that the state Department of Justice is defaming a man by releasing criminal histories that include his name as a criminal’s alias.

The case centers on Dennis Teague. He filed a lawsuit in 2014 in Madison arguing that his cousin stole his identity. As a result, background checks on Teague include the cousin’s name and history. He demanded DOJ not send the cousin’s criminal history when someone wants a check on Teague or that it send a letter stating Teague isn’t a criminal.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that providing the cousin’s history in response to a check on Teague is an unwarranted defamation and sent the case back to circuit court for resolution.

A DOJ spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a message.