Archive for the ‘Maryland’ Category
I guess the sex offender registries have been a sufficiently popular idea that states are continuing to create boutique criminal records databases. Baltimore, Maryland recently approved legislation that would create a public Gun Offenders Registry, requiring those convicted of gun related offenses register their name, address, and photograph with the police department. As yet, a Web database is not available.
California could become the first state to have a Domestic Violence Offenders Registry.
Minnesota, Tennessee and Illinois have Methamphetamine Offenders Registries. Montana includes convicted meth manufacturers in its Sexual and Violent Offender Registry. Oklahoma lists the offenses that require registration in its Sex and Violent Crime Offender Registry. Georgia, Kansas Kentucky and Connecticut briefly considered adding a violent offender registry to their roster of convicted criminal databases. Similar legislation is still alive in Hawaii.
The Illinois State Police maintains the Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.
Find out if a Michigan drivers license is valid or has been suspended or revoked by searching the Repeat Offender Inquiry.
And, on the meth makers theme, the DEA National Clandestine Laboratory Register, “contains addresses of some locations where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites.”
The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog reports that Maryland has erected new obstacles to getting police reports.
Meanwhile, a newly introduced bill in the Wisconsin legislature would create a violent offender registry.
The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (not a staple news source) reports that the “Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the home addresses and telephone numbers of public employees were subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), even when public employees requested that this information be kept confidential.”
The International Association of Insurance Fraud Agencies links to state government insurance agencies, insurance fraud associations and international organizations. In the U.S., the same government agency can be responsible for investigating individuals who defraud insurance companies as well as dishonest insurance representatives who steal from or otherwise defraud the consumer. This site covers both types of resources.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud delivers consumer fraud alerts and research papers to journalists. The Coalition also has brief summaries of various insurance scams.
The Fraud Prevention Checklist is an interactive guide to assessing a company’s vulnerability to fraud, provided by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Get insurance company financial profiles and data on the types of policies they issue, from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Consumer education and tips on email scams, mortgage costs, tainted drugs and identity theft prevention are at the federal government Federal Citizen Information Center, Consumer Action Web site. The site also has a complaint form letter and a list of all the federal agencies to which you direct your complaints, with topical indicators (i.e. “Airline Accessibility or Discrimination” or “Telephone Service”)
Some states list enforcement actions at their Web site. The Maryland Insurance Administration regulates Maryland insurance companies and agents. It issues public orders of actions it takes against agents, agencies and brokers, cataloged to 2003. Search all enforcement actions by keyword from the Google search engine using this query but replacing “keyword” with your terms.
Gifts, investments, outside income, business relationships and other economic interests of top public agency employees and elected officials of San Bernardino County, California are now posted online in a database. Search by filer name, filing date, position or department name. San Bernardino is the first California county to put these records online, according to a report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
The Statement of Economic Interests, California Fair Political Practices Form 700, is filed each year with the government official’s home county, or with the state Fair Political Practices Commission for state elected officers, legislators, judges and court commissioners, and members of the state boards and commissions.
The San Bernardino County filings begin with 2006; the home addresses are redacted from the forms.
Maryland law now allows people arrested but not charged to expunge their police records.
The Nevada Senate is considering AB600, which has passed the Assembly, a bill that will allow people to redact their personal identifying information from public records which they previously filed. The last 4 digits of the Social Security number are not personal information and will be allowed on public records. The 4 number identifier will be required on judgments.
The Idaho state Supreme Court ruled that emails sent between county employees are public records.
Even though federal law makes certain student records confidential that does not prevent the public release of redacted student disciplinary records, according to a decision by the Montana Supreme Court.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has instituted new rules that abolish fees for petitions to unseal cases. However, the rules require notification of the case parties by the person seeking to unseal the records. The court also ruled that financial statements are public records but that they could be sealed!
Meanwhile, Maryland legislators are considering whether to add juveniles as young as 13 years old to the sex offender registry upon conviction of a qualifying crime. Most states keep the names of juvenile defendants confidential. Another proposal would create a “no sex offenders zone” of a half mile around school yards, which other states have found is counter productive. Apparently the registrants become transient because, it turns out, if you draw a half mile ring around every school there’s nowhere for them to live!
A committee of the Maryland Judiciary has reconfirmed that juror personal information is a public record, although access varies from nil to extensive, depending on the court.
Once again, it takes the determination of a media outlet to enforce or clarify a public records act. Wisconsin Circuit Judge William Foust ruled that contracts between a government agency and a union didn’t create an exception to the state’s open-records laws. The opinion also covers agency contracts with government employees, although some exceptions may apply.
The Florida Miami-Dade Chief Judge disclosed that a that a number of cases and party names have been kept secret, off the public docket, while also giving judges the authority to continue the practice. The Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis is conducting an investigation into the practice of closing court files, which was revealed to have occurred in thousands of cases in Broward County. Earlier, I wrote about a study showing that other state courts and the federal court also have hidden dockets, secret courts or files that have been sealed with no reason given.