Archive for the ‘California’ Category
Have you had the experience of searching an online court or Recorder index and getting a false negative? You know the name is there but it isn’t returned in your search results. Worse yet, you don’t know whether the record is there and assume it’s not because the site returned “no result.”
I was searching multiple names at the Alameda County Recorder Real Property index and found that results were returned only when the first name listed in a document was searched, but not the second name, even when that name was listed in the index. This only applies to shared last names, I believe.
I queried the name “Bennett, Lyle”, which returned a record in which that name was listed first. The index record for the document shows a second name, “Bennett, Doris.”
I searched the index for “Bennett, Doris” and received a “no record” message.
I’m sure the Recorder would like to hear from you about this glitch. I contacted the provider of the software and received an email directing me to resolve the problem with the Recorder.
What’s your experience searching online records?
Per PRRN Member Judith Smith, the Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court – Ms. Susan Matherly – has simply had enough. Ms. Matherly has had it with all the public record search firms hired by employers to check criminal records of local residents that apply for jobs. On March 14th she announced at a local Bar Association luncheon that she was shutting down the public access terminal to background screening firms. And on Monday March 19th she did it. TheIT staff removed the public access computer and put it in a locked room to be accessible only by attorneys and their investigators.
To better understand Ms. Matherly’s logic, consider the following summarized statements she also made at the March 14th luncheon, as reported by Ms. Smith:
The Sacramento County, California Sheriff has developed its own inmate release notification – Sheriff’s Inmate Release Elective Notification System (SIRENS) – that replaces the multi-agency VINELink (Victim Information and Notification) Everyday) program. The SIRENS service, like VINELink, will alert registered users by phone, text or email after a specified inmate is released. (See the SIRENS brochure for instructions.) Start by looking up the full name in the inmate search database.
Hopefully, VINELink won’t drop their Sacramento County incarcerated offender name search because it’s more flexible than the one at the Sheriff’s website. Both were functional today. The Sheriff’s site requires a full first name and full last name to find an inmate. That’s not helpful if you want to see everyone with the same last name — which you’ll want to do if you only have a nickname. Or maybe you want to see all of the possible relatives simultaneously incarcerated, right? The VINELink database can be searched with a partial first name AND a partial last name.
But these databases are better in tandem because the inmate information shown by the Sacramento Sheriff is more detailed. Alias’ and DOB’s are shown for those in custody and for released inmates, along with their release date. Because the date of birth is excised for out-of-custody inmates on VINELink you don’t know whether the “James Johnson’s” listed are the same person, or whether they are a match with those at the Sheriff’s site.
But neither site had private investigators in mind when they developed these tools.