Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category
A database of convicted drunk drivers is slated to go online by the end of 2008, hosted by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Ohio’s SB 17 mandates the creation of an Internet registry listing personal information on repeat offenders. Read the press release that details the characteristics of the Habitual OVI/OMWI Offender Registry.
All offenders having 5 or more OVI/OMWI convictions (or equivalent offenses) in the past 20 years must be listed on the Registry, to include:
• Offender’s name
• Date of birth
• Residential address including street address, municipal corporation or township, county and zip code
• Number of times within the preceding 20 years the offender has been convicted of an OVI/OMWI violation
• Dates of OVI/OMWI violation
The Registry must be made available to the public online, to be searchable by the offender’s name, county or zip code.
Add this to the growing collection of boutique criminal registries.
Here we go again, another incident involving a private investigator that tarnishes the reputation of an entire profession all in the name of making a quick buck.
A local Ohio newspaper is now reporting that a worker at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has allegedly admitted to selling the Social Security numbers and other non-public personal information of injured workers’ to a private investigator.
The private investigator has not been identified, but the case has been referred to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office for possible criminal prosecution.
While it doesn’t appear that the information provided was being used for identity theft, the bureau is still notifying 49 injured workers whose personal information appears to have been was compromised.
These incidents only provide legislators with more ammunition to exclude licensed private investigators from legitimate access to valuable personal information.
One can only hope that those PIs who are willing to break the law, or forget about professional ethics, are caught and punished.
What do you think about this incident?
Complaints by residents in Oregon has lead to the removal of some property owner’s names from PortlandMaps, the city’s online mapping program of assessor’s data and building permits. Portland offers a vague explanation for the decision to allow a search by address only.
Ohio media outlets may have to add a requirement to the standard job description: must have photographic memory. That is, if they want to peruse particular public records which cannot be copied. That’s the law in Ohio. The opinion of the Ohio Attorney General adds absurdity to confusion in his assertion that reporters can inspect the gun permit owner lists kept by the Sheriffs’ offices but are not allowed to write anything down. Keep your eyes peeled for a clarifying law, sure to be stupider than the first.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Attorney General has issued an opinion that may make police agency’s records more available to the public. The AG stated that a 1991 state Supreme Court ruling exempting from the open records law district attorney files does not apply to police reports. A police spokesperson objected, claiming that open access would give a defense attorney “tactical advantage over a prosecutor who has not yet examined the police reports”, according to this story. Will someone make a list of all the arguments public agencies have offered for keeping public records out of our hands?
Search court trial records statewide for Minnesota, including criminal civil, probate and family law. A search for judgments is also here.
The Ohio Supreme Court has proposed rule changes that will redefine the term “public records” and affect access to court case records [See"Proposed amendments to the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio Rules 44-47] Suggested changes include:
(a) Redacting the case information rather than limiting public access to the entire record;
(b) Limiting remote access to either the case record or case information while
maintaining its public access;
(c) Limiting public access to either the case record or case information for a specific period of time;
(d) Using a generic title or description for the case record or case information in a case management system or register of actions;
(e) Using initials or other identifier for the parties’ proper names.
The open records advocacy group, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, has released a study of the consequences of restrictive and open adoption laws. The Institute concludes that new adoption laws that have given adoptees and birth parents access to the original birth certificates has advanced the policy debate “from speculation about the appropriateness, wisdom and impact of such legal changes to a more-informed consideration of their personal, practical and social effects on real people’s real lives.”
Of all the harebrained ideas, the restriction of Wisconsin court records online is sure to be defeated in the legislative committee. The bill’s author claimed that Assembly Bill 418 would alleviate employment discrimination against people with criminal records. Keep an eye open for a revised bill that would limit access to those who can pay.
And even when state legislatures extend public records access – as the Ohio legislature did in the last General Assembly – confusion can lead to closure of records formerly open to the public. The Ohio court clerks are awaiting training on the Public Records Act, as the law requires, before returning access to court records.
A New Mexico judge agreed with a private investigator who brought suit against the state that the records of previous tax sales is a public record. Eric Griego had sought the Department of Taxation and Revenue records listing sales of property seized and sold by the state. The difference between the money made on the sale and the amount owed for taxes is supposed to be returned to the beneficiaries, who Griego located in his work as an heir hunter, but the agency had started denying his requests after complying for many years.
The Ohio Office of Homeland Security, which licenses security guards, is having trouble keeping an accurate count of licensees since a recent requirement went into effect that employers register each new security guard hire. [State system doesn’t allow exact accounting of security guards, CantonRep.com, May 29, 2007.]
The state estimates about 21,000 individuals holding security guard licenses but says that number could be inflated by as much as 3,000 since employees are registered each time they go to work for a new company, meaning some could be registered multiple times.
Meanwhile, changes in access to public records in Ohio may make it difficult for even law enforcement to do background checks. Recently passed legislation shields personal information in public records on some government employees and their family members.
The New York Drug Dealer Registry Act, recently introduced legislation, would require drug dealers with felony convictions to register upon release from prison.
The North Carolina Court of Appeal ruled against a newspaper that sought clemency appeal applications under the state public records law. [North Carolina Appeals Court Holds That Public Records Act Does Not Apply to Clemency Applications, Media Law Prof, June 7, 2007]
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court agrees with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that juror names are releasable under the state public records act. The newspaper was rebuffed in its request for juror addresses. [Names of criminal trial jurors are public, RCFP, June 5, 2007]
The Arizona Court of Appeal agreed with Phoenix Newspaper, Inc. that a claim for damages made against a school district is a public record, even in the case of a rape of a minor. [Ruling: Rape victim's compensation claim public record, Arizona Republic, June 12, 2007]