Sergeant charged with felony for releasing records

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ The state Department of Justice is prosecuting a Taylor County sheriff's detective for releasing records of two unsolved murders to producers of a national television show. 

Sgt. Steven Bowers is accused of felony misconduct in public office, a charge that could send him to prison for 1 and a half years upon conviction. Under the law, police records are public, but authorities often withhold them on grounds they could compromise an ongoing investigation. 

The State Journal reports the records were given to producers of the Oxygen network show ``Cold Justice.''

Bowers has admitted to releasing the records, but says he didn't intend to disregard department policies and, in hindsight, realized what he had done was wrong.

DOJ handled the case for Taylor County prosecutors to avoid a conflict of interest.

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