Kansas takes closed approach to criminal records

From San Francisco Chronicle:  TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Criminal records that are available to the public in almost every other state remain closed in Kansas without a judge's order, forcing residents in some cases to spend thousands of dollars to find out information readily accessible virtually anywhere else.

Several law enforcement officials said it's necessary to limit access to information to protect the accused and avoid tainting potential trials, but some Kansas legislators — including a member of the House Judiciary Committee who is a former federal administrative law judge — said they were surprised by the restrictive nature of the state's open records law, The Kansas City Star reported.