The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that all on-line court records don’t have to be erased if someone is acquitted of a crime. The case involves a man called J.W. who was arrested in February of 2009 and charged with OWI and three other traffic violations in Linn County.

He successfully had the evidence in the case suppressed and the state dismissed all the charges. J.W. then asked to have all record of his arrest removed from the state crime database used by law enforcement, and the Iowa Court Information System. The records were removed from the crime database as required by law, but a second state law requires that some court records be retained as “source documents.”

The Iowa Supreme Court says prior to the use of electronic records, these source documents were not easily available to the public and they were mainly paper documents. The court says the case illustrates the impact of the internet on our daily affairs.

It ruled that will they are mindful of J.W.’s concerns about on-line public access his records, the law does not require criminal cases that ended in dismissal or acquittal to be removed from court system or the website Iowa Court Online.

And it said failing to remove the records on-line does not violate his constitutional rights.

See the entire ruling here: Online records PDF