Skip to main content

MN media groups intervene in Wetterling lawsuit, call for release of Jacob case files

The Wetterling family has until Friday to tell a judge which information they want holding back.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

A coalition of journalism groups and media outlets have intervened in a legal case, and are calling on a judge to release files that are part of the Jacob Wetterling case.

The Wetterling family filed a restraining order against the Stearns County Sheriff's Office earlier this month, days ahead of a release of thousands of pages from the Wetterling investigation file. They argued that a small part contains highly personal information unrelated to the case, which they feel breaches their privacy.

On Monday, groups including the Minnesota Newspaper Association and media outlets including MPR, the Pioneer Press and KSTP intervened in the case, urging Judge Ann Currott to not allow the constitutional right of privacy to override the Data Practices Act.

The release of the files had been delayed after the Wetterlings filed the restraining order, and on Monday they were adamant that their privacy should be protected in spite of the intervention of Minnesota media.

A statement from the family's lawyer, Doug Kelley, said a tiny part of the file ("less than three one thousands of one percent") contains "intensely personal" information "which do not belong in a police file."

He also says it contains "misinformation of a character" that "I've never seen in 42 years in practicing criminal law."

In their intervention, the media groups state that the Wetterling family "recognizes that the records in question are classified as public" under Minnesota data laws, and fear that allowing some information to be held back could set an unwanted precedent for future public transparency cases.

The sheriff's office was set to release them after that the case was closed following the confession of Jacob Wetterling's killer, Danny Heinrich, and the subsequent discovery of his body.

The Minnesota Newspaper Association, the St. Cloud Times reports, said in response: "While sincerely sympathetic to the Wetterlings, (the MNA) believes the lawsuit poses a direct threat to the integrity of the Data Practices Act, the state law that governs the classification of government records and that requires most to be made public."

The Wetterlings have until Friday to tell Judge Ann Carrott which pages they do not feel should be released, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Next Up


Ryan Poles picking Chicago creates battle of the rebuilds with Vikings

Both of the Vikings' GM finalists land in the same division looking to return to relevancy.

David Ortiz

Twins congratulate David Ortiz on HOF induction, it ends badly

Twins fans haven't forgotten the biggest mistake in franchise history.

Snowmobile tracks Any Arthur Flickr

Who left the burnt snowmobile on a frozen Minnesota lake?

There wasn't much left beyond the frame and a few other large, metal parts.

T Kline Robbinsdale City Council

Charges: Drunk council member fled police on wrong side of Hwy. 100

The complaint alleges he caused a wrong-way crash, then drove around an officer that tried to stop him.


What does the future hold for the Vikings at linebacker?

Anthony Barr is hitting free agency, and Eric Kendricks is approaching age 30

vehicle car

String of vehicle thefts in St. Paul, most left running unattended

The department is urging people not to leave their car running unattended.

kid hospital doctor

Child COVID hospitalizations reach pandemic-high in northern MN

As omicron surges, more kids are ending up in the hospital.

ice fishing close unsplash

'It's disgusting': Anglers dumping sewage on to popular ice fishing lake

A local CO told Bring Me The News it's people in newer, RV-style wheel houses.

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.


Wetterlings given more time to fight release of 'intensely personal' case files

A judge granted an extension because "new issues" have arisen.

Jacob Wetterling case files to be released next week

The release of the files has been subject to legal challenges.

Jacob Wetterling files must be released, judge rules

Minnesota media had challenged the ruling preventing the files' release.

Wetterling family makes statement ahead of release of Jacob case file

The investigative documents will go public on Thursday.

Wetterling case files reveal bungled response to Jacob's abduction

Tens of thousands of documents have been released on Thursday.

Remains discovered are Jacob Wetterling, medical examiner confirms

Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found, nearly 27 years after the boy disappeared, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon.