Archive for the ‘Utah’ Category
It will be easier to find Florida public records through a Google search without having to mine each government database, now that the Florida state government has a cooperative arrangement with Google to index their sites.
Search the name “Villalobos” within Florida government records by formulating this query:
All of the initial results are for Senator Villalobos at the legislature’s Web site. If he’s not your target, search again, removing that site:
One set of public records is various state license holders.
Examine the search results to uncover new types of public records. Scroll down to the link to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement document listing a “Villalobos” among those receiving an Intoxilyzer test. If you go to the public records section at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Alcohol Testing Program you’ll see a jumble of files that aren’t searchable here, but content within them can be plumbed at a search engine.
This document image tells you that Villalobos’ arrest took place in Broward County, which is helpful because names in the Florida court case indices won’t come up in a search engine.
I previously wrote about the other state governments – Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia - whose sites Google is also indexing.
The Salt Lake Tribune has join the media rush to launch databases of public records. Unlike those others, Utah’s Right To Know has collected statewide and local databases at a dedicated Web site, not a page buried in the online edition. Some of the data are available elsewhere – such as the sex offenders – but the site is also collecting government salaries in one database, which is being culled from local, county and state agencies. Search Public Employee Salaries by name or agency, or across all agencies. A drop down menu displays those currently available. The search mechanism for Utah Divorces and Utah District Court Charges allows a query by first or last name.
Read the Tribune’s story on the Utahsright.com project, which the paper claims has generated a lot of excitement among readers. You wouldn’t know it from the few posts at the topical discussion forums.
I guess a fresh, private industry has sprung up that’s developing and storing the public records databases for some newspapers. The Scoop recently explored the issue of outsourcing and got a miffed comment from the director of one of these companies.
The California Supreme Court seems to be leaning toward the interpretation of state law granting the public access to the names and salaries of government employees, including police officers. A ruling is expected within 3 months. A favorable ruling for the newspapers that filed the lawsuits could help private investigators in police misconduct cases track the employment of officers across departments.
The Computer Services Bureau of the California Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission maintains a database of peace officer records to track employment training.
California criminal defense attorneys and investigators, and crime reporters will want to consult the 2007 Legal Update, a 150 page guide to legislation, case law and Attorney General Opinions enacted in the past year related to law enforcement.
Idaho has received a grant to expand its victim notification service (VINE) beyond the state prison system to its county jails. The complete network should be operational by next year.
Photos for inmates at the Utah County, Utah jail are back online after being removed because someone downloaded a bunch of photos and posted them to another site. To their credit, the County Attorney and Sheriff emerged from their huddle with a wise decision: fix the technological problem and get the public records back online.
Jennifer LaFleur discusses some of the troubling legislation that passed and failed in Texas recently, including the closure of the concealed gun registrations database to public inspection.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the courts, not government entities determine which emails generated by agencies are public records. Calaveras County, California, seems to be taking a serious look at its electronic records storage policy. Check out the Federal Judicial Center “Links” page for electronic discovery resources.
Many state appeals and supreme courts post their decisions at their Web sites and will deliver newly issued opinions, some with captions and summaries, to you by email or syndication. Look at your state’s court site to determine if it offers a notification service.
The Iowa Court of Appeals offers email notification of “supreme court opinions, court of appeals opinions, press releases and orders.” Conversely, the New Jersey judiciary Web site posts opinions and calendars of upcoming decisions but doesn’t have a built-in notification. In this case, I use the low-cost service, WatchThatPage, which sends me the new content whenever this Web site is updated. I receive case summaries that look like this.
A-52-05 State v. Saleem Crawley (58,340)
Where police officers, in response to an anonymous tip about criminal activity, requested defendant to stop and answer some questions because he matched the description provided in the tip, can defendant be found guilty of obstruction for running away? Certification granted: 10/12/2005
I can then go to the court site to read the full opinion. Rutgers Law library has constructed an RSS feed for New Jersey appeals and tax cases.
Even better, the Utah Appellate Court provides real-time delivery of court opinions by RSS, a free means of receiving updated content from user selected sites. The RSS program I like is Bloglines. Here you can collect and read all your dynamically refreshed content at one Web site.
The Placer County, California Assessor site has added parcel map viewing and printing. Enter a parcel number to obtain owner name and associated map page image.
The sex offender and violent offender databases operated by each state are always being tweaked. The Iowa site has added an e-mail notification feature, which is available at many state sites and also at Family Watchdog.
Several states have either created or authorized the development of a Web registry naming people convicted of making or selling methamphetamines. Utah and Oregon may be the most recent states to establish a meth boutique database. Montana includes convicted meth manufacturers in its Sexual and Violent Offender Registry.