Archive for the ‘Recorder’ Category

Database of the Day: Oklahoma Multi-County Recorder Search

This is the only site I’ve seen that aggregates the indexes of Recorder documents of multiple counties. The Oklahoma County Clerk Public Records is a project of the Oklahoma county clerks in conjunction with Kellpro, which develops software applications for Oklahoma and Texas county and state agencies. Search across all 28 Oklahoma counties that are currently in this database by name. Registration is free but required to get online access to document images.

Public records: Missouri – Tennessee – New York – North Carolina

Missouri consumer complaints; Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry; New York removes Social Security numbers; North Carolina adoption confidential intermediary.

The Missouri Attorney General has unveiled a database of filed consumer complaints that can be searched by company name or partial name.The database includes more than 100,000 complaints filed since January 1, 2004. View the complaint number, type of complaint, the number of complaints and the date filed. The site does not provide any information on whether the complaint was pursued by the Attorney General or what the result of any investigation might have been.

The Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry has been expanded to include mapping and photographs of all offenders, and more offenders than were previously on the Web site.

In advance of any state law, the Rockland County, New York Clerk installed software that will remove Social Security numbers from the online version of recorded documents. According to a Journal News article (now removed), New York state tax liens now use a different number than the Social Security number on documents.

North Carolina will marginally facilitate the reconnection of birth parents and the children they relinquished for adoption. If both parties agree, the adoption placement services will act as confidential intermediaries, providing the birth parents and adult children with each other’s contact information.

State Roundup: Iowa State and County Web sites

The Iowa County Recorders Association operates a unique statewide database of Recorded documents. Real property and all other documents filed with the Recorder offices in Iowa counties can be searched from one portal. Select the county and documents you want to retrieve and then search by last or first name. Perform a single search for many or all 99 counties, and search for multiple document types; obtain index details and document images. Free registration is required. Full access requires Internet Explorer browser. The site also has links to individual county Web pages.

The State of Iowa Web site is well organized and has an extensive collection of links to state agencies, searchable by agency name and type of information. An array of Iowa state government documents are available online and can be located through the site’s search engine. Review the list of online services to link to databases of campaign finance reports, court records, corporations, unclaimed property, unidentified persons, state highway accident reports and much more.

Bookmark this link to a list of all agencies for each county. There’s quite a variance in the extensiveness of the online information that each county provides. The Cerro Gordo County Web site is technologically current, providing RSS for Public Notices (with documents) and News. Be sure to check each county Web site regularly for additions to their online records.

City guides, city government sites and Iowa services can be accessed from this commercial directory.

The Iowa Freedom of Information Council has an Open Records Handbook and other resources related to the public records law and access.

The Iowa State University has state and local government links to directories sorted by topic.

Some Web sites are valuable to private investigators for purposes other than their intended use. Craigslist is one of those, sometimes revealing background and activity on your subject. Small town newspapers often carry obituaries, police blotters and public notices not otherwise easily accessible.

Do any of you Iowans have favorite personal information Web sites?

Why the judgments and liens databases will become obsolete

You may have noticed that there’s a trend toward eliminating personal identifiers – social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses – from all public records. Any publicly filed documents containing social security numbers are subject to being altered, removing the SSN identifier, or rejected until the personal information is redacted. Currently, financial records, tax liens, deeds and mortgage loan documents are being changed to the extent that it will become impossible to verify whether a federal, state or municipal tax lien belongs to a particular individual.

Fraud investigators, people finders, heir locators, financial lenders and journalists checking on the fitness of our politicians all rely on the unique identifier to develop background and verify identity.

The complete social security number is being removed from filed documents, not just from the Internet indexes and images. And guess what? The commercial databases aren’t going to be able to provide search results that cross reference SSNs on tax liens or judgments filed with county recorder’s offices with a name or address. The indexes of the data resellers are only as good as the original records.

The Missouri Secretary of State just announced that she’s removed the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) document images from the Web site.

The Secretary of State’s Office is taking every step possible to protect personal identification information (Social Security Numbers and Federal Identification Numbers) while continuing to provide service to our customers. As part of that effort, our office has temporarily removed Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) images from the web site as they may inadvertently contain personal identification information.

Although the Virginia legislature has yet to enact a pending bill that would remove SSNs from land records and court filings, Nevada county recorders are rejecting filings that contain social security numbers. This new requirement has created a mess in the courts because the County Clerk is required to submit affirmations that the “5,000 documents filed every day in District Court” have the social security numbers removed. Even in the relatively lower volume state of Vermont the county clerks are overwhelmed by the mandate to extract SSNs from previously submitted documents. The Kansas legislature apparently didn’t consider the costly (both personal and financial, to government and business) consequences of redacting data, declaring that

Unless required by federal law, no document available for public inspection or copying shall contain an individual’s social security number if such document contains such individual’s personal information.

Personal information is name, address, phone number or e-mail address. This applies to

documents recorded in the official records of any recorder of deeds of the county or to any documents filed in the official records of the court and shall be included, but not limited to, such documents of any records that when filed constitutes:
(1) A consensual or nonconsensual lien;

(2) an eviction record;
(3) a judgment;
(4) a conviction or arrest;
(5) a bankruptcy;
(6) a secretary of state filing; or
(7) a professional license.

Humm, no name on a professional license…

All of the 50 state governments will eventually succumb to this “identity theft” protection measure on court records, UCC filings and mortgage loan documents.

Why don’t these state legislatures follow the federal model, masking only part of the SSN, which achieves the aims of fraud prevention while keeping the unique association of the number with a name?

Utah death certificates online

Search by personal or business name across all Utah government indexes of historical documents that are online. The Utah death index with death certificate images is available from 1905 to 1954 at the Utah Division of Archives & Records.

This week in public records – California – Wyoming – Washington – North Carolina

The San Joaquin Recorder now has its index online.

The Spokane County, Washington Sheriff’s Office has added a roster of current inmates to its Website. Search by name to get inmate details.

The Wyoming connection to Vinelink is expanding and eventually will cover all counties, parole boards and the state Department of Corrections. Cheyenne is expected to be online within 6 months.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal prosecutors can withhold witness names.

Prosecutors gave defense attorneys parts of the reports, but withheld sections that could reveal the names of witnesses. They argued the reports were covered by a federal court rule protecting the work of “government agents” and that revealing the names could endanger witnesses who are project residents.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the report sections could be withheld because the police qualified as government agents, even though they weren’t federal employees.

A private law firm representing a town in North Carolina must still comply with the open records laws, according to a state appeals court.

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