Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category
Search the online records of disciplinary actions from 2000 to 2007 for funeral homes and funeral practitioners at the Maine Board of Funeral Service. Use this advanced search query at the Google search engine. In this example, I’ve searched the name “Fernald”. Note the Web address in the search bar.
Use the same Google search format to identify Pennsylvania professional license disciplinary actions, including for funeral directors and funeral homes, from 1999 to 2007.
The Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board has images of Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action and Consent Order for cases filed from 2005 to 2007.
The Texas Funeral Service Commission has a one page list of disciplinary actions taken against licensees since September 2006. The record has a name, violation, action taken and date.
This document has hyperlinks to all the state funeral regulatory boards.
The well established may disappear overnight in the realm of online government records. Visitors to the Jefferson County, Alabama Probate Court online records search – the site for images of land records, personal property and probate recordings – were recently greeted by an unwelcome message.
Due to privacy concerns, this site is unavailable until further notice. Data is still available at the Jefferson County Probate offices.
A reporter alerted the county to the availability of Social Security numbers in some document images – mostly older UCC filings – which were not properly redacted. The site is completely down until all the SSNs can be removed.
California legislation that would have restored the public’s right to view police disciplinary information has apparently been derailed before being heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The California Progress Report gives a detailed review.
The San Mateo County, California Court site has posted a Standing Order restricting personal data in court filings, in accordance with the California Rules of Court. Personal identifiers should be limited to the last 4 digits of the Social Security number, the year of birth, and initials for minor children.
Adoptees received some good news in a bill signed by the governor of Maine. Starting January 1, 2009 anyone adopted in Maine gains the right to their original birth certificate. Only 3 other states have unlocked adoption records that were formerly closed.
In the ever new species of state registries the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has sprouted the Dangerous Dog Registry!
The Dangerous Dog Registry provides a mechanism for consumers to determine if dangerous dogs reside in their neighborhoods and for local animal control officials to post information about dogs that have been declared dangerous by the local court.
The abundance of state legislation restricting access to public records is depressing for open government advocates. But the head in the sand approach won’t preserve access, so here are some of the Bills under consideration by state legislatures.
HB 269, An act prohibiting “pretexting” as a means of obtaining personally identifiable information, would invoke civil penalties for any use of pretexting to obtain any personally identifying information.
HB 686 would prohibit anyone from electronically tracking another person without that person’s consent.
HB 729 includes a prohibition on retaining or storing personal information on drivers’ licenses in an electronic form.
Legislation introduced in Arizona aims to remove all victim information from police reports before they’re released to journalists, attorneys, private investigators or the public in general. SB 1286 states: “A victim’s contact and identifying information that is obtained, compiled or reported by a law enforcement agency shall be redacted by the originating agency in publicly accessible records pertaining to the criminal case involving the victim. “
SB1286 has other flaws as well. By requiring law enforcement to keep victim information out of public records (instead of redacting or blacking out the information when appropriate), the bill could force police agencies to spend millions of dollars to install new computer software and to redesign reports in order to create two sets of documents — one for public release and one for the criminal justice system to operate fairly.
California State Sen. Ron Calderon has introduced SB 690, legislation that was expected to allow District Attorneys to release personal information on arrestees and parolees, which an Attorney General Opinion had said violated the right to privacy. Unfortunately the bill appears to have become restrictive to the point that private investigators and the public might have more difficulty obtaining police reports under the California Public Records Act.
Notwithstanding any other law, a local agency may, in response to a written request made pursuant to Section 6253 of the Government Code, provide information from a local summary criminal history, if the person making the request declares under penalty of perjury that the request is made for a scholarly or journalistic purpose and the release of the information would enhance public safety, the interest of justices, or the public’s understanding of the justice system.
California Assemblymember Dave Jones has submitted AB 1168, a bill regulating public records which contain social security numbers.
The California Public Records Act requires state and local agencies to make their records available for public inspection unless a record is exempt from disclosure. The act exempts from disclosure, among others, any record that is a personnel, medical, or similar file the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
This bill would provide that, notwithstanding these provisions, a local agency shall not disclose to the public any record that is required to be open to the public by any provision of law if that record displays more than the last four digits of any social security number.
A vague bill, AB 703 requires that records containing social security numbers be destroyed.
Last year’s failed bill, SB 1666, has returned in the form of SB 328, Personal Information: Prohibited Practices.
The bill would also prohibit any person, as defined, from, among other things, obtaining or attempting to obtain, or causing or attempting to cause the disclosure of, personal information about a customer or employee contained in the records of a business through specified methods, such as by making false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, with specified exceptions.
Two bills at the state legislature would make private records that are currently public. New Mexico publicly-owned utilities must provide copies of all its records, under current law, but the presumption of openness that has characterized the release of government records shifting toward closure.
One proposed law, HB 279, from Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, would prohibit the disclosure of consumers’ nonpublic personal information.
Another bill, House Bill 1027 from Rep. Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup, would exempt from the right to inspect public records any law enforcement record of “individuals accused but not charged with a crime,” discharge papers of a veteran and “the residential addresses of customers of municipal or county utilities.”
Is your state government proposing similar legislation?
It is little surprise that Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 202, Privacy: telephone calling pattern record or list, making the acquisition of a telephone subscriber’s phone call records a crime.[Read more at Computerworld]
Any person who purchases, sells, offers to purchase or
sell, or conspires to purchase or sell any telephone calling pattern record or list, without the written consent of the subscriber, or any person who procures or obtains through fraud or deceit, or attempts to procure or obtain through fraud or deceit any telephone calling pattern record or list shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section, he or she is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
The prohibition applies to telephone numbers called by the subscriber, not reverse address or telephone information. The California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) supported the bill and urged the governor to sign it.
Other states have restricted access to telephone records, among them are Michigan, Maine, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington and Florida. Other state legislation on telephone records is collected at the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site.
Considering the number of sex offender registrants who are listed on government Web sites the recent two killings in Maine seem to be an anomaly. Perhaps the Maine State Police got nervous, fearing a trend…or, what? They pulled the plug on the Maine registry Web site. No authority for doing this is cited in the press or at the State Police site. The Maine sex offender registry statute states that the bureau “shall” maintain a public access site, which seems to leave it up to law enforcement. §11221. Maintenance of sex offender registry:
Public access to information. The bureau shall provide information to the public as follows.
A. The bureau shall post on the Internet for public inspection the following information concerning a registrant:
(1) The registrant’s name, date of birth and photograph;
(2) The registrant’s city or town of domicile and residence;
(3) The registrant’s place of employment and college or school being attended, if applicable, and the corresponding address and location; and
(4) The statutory citation and name of the offense for which the registrant was convicted.
[2003, c. 711, Pt. C, §20 (amd); Pt. D, §2 (aff).]
CourtTV’s Crime Library explores the utility of sex offender registries, their role in vigilantism and the implied admission that the government can’t protect citizens from harm. Read the series.
And the Mullen case, apparently the first involving lethal vigilantism against registered sex offenders, calls into question the safety and effectiveness of that widely used system. Cites, counties and states are bracing for more lawsuits by other sex offenders who feel targeted by the registries. The Mullen murders likely will serve as ammunition for a new round of legal challenges.
John LaFond, the retired law professor, said he found dozens of cases of harassment and assault of sex offenders as a result of registry listings while researching his 2005 book, Preventing Sexual Violence: How Society Should Cope with Sex Offenders.