Billy Jo W. v. Metro

In Billy Jo W. v. Metro, 182 Wis. 2d 616, 514 N.W.2d 707 (1994), the Racine Journal Times and others sought access to Billy Jo W.'s civil commitment court file, pursuant to Wis. Stat. 51.30(3). The court reasoned that the statute provided no "precise guide" to what records the legislature intended to permit a court to release upon such a request. See Billy Jo W., 182 Wis. 2d at 633, 514 N.W.2d at 711. But in its analysis, it enunciated the policy that underlies the legislation which affords privacy to mental health records. It reasoned that the stigmatization that individuals still receive when they suffer from a mental illness required limiting access to records which contain mental health information. See id. at 632, 514 N.W.2d at 711.