Archive for the ‘Recorder’ Category
Courthouse Direct has added a free bankruptcy index search to its collection of free public records, which now include nationwide (sort of) real property, many Recorder indexes, and Texas marriage, divorce and death indexes.
Search the bankruptcy records by name, date, filing state, type of filing, city, state or the the last 4 digits in the Social Security number. The asterisk wildcard can be used after a partial first name. The results list returns the court location, full name of the party, the date of the filing and the filing type. The filing type is not very useful because it describes the subject (defendant 1 or 2 or “other”), not the nature of the court filing. Further details are available for a fee, or you can go to PACER, which is less costly. The through dates are not specified, except that the party search is complete starting in 2001. I found California cases in one jurisdiction from 1985. Other states had filings from the early 1990′s but most seemed to be from the 2000′s. Courthouse Direct bankruptcy data comes from the commercial service AACER, which does not have a free lookup.
One caution: The bankruptcy search only works in Internet Explorer!
Visit this federal government site for a glossary of bankruptcy terms.
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?
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?
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.