Not only is new not better, but a recent reconfiguration of the Sacramento County Criminal Court index could make matters worse for the very people the change was intended to protect. This report comes from the April issue of The Public Record Update, provided by BRB Publications, Inc.
For years, Sacramento County in California has offered online access to the docket index of court records. Recently they added a new twist. Requesters can now submit an exact DOB with the name as part of the search criteria. The resulting list of possible hits will still cloak or hide the DOB. Reportedly, county officials instituted this change to help record retrievers and to lessen the workload of the clerks pulling files. However, per the retrievers we spoke to who service this county, the new system has some serious flaws. The new system is missing cases. And, using the system discounts the many times a requester receives bad or transposed birth dates, or when an incorrect DOB is in the court system which leads to reporting a false clear report. For example, a recent test by a PRRN Member showed nearly 20% of the names with hits on the old system were
not shown on the new system. Until the new system offers a true measure of necessary due diligence, these retrievers will continue to do name searches without the DOB and pull files for their clientele to determine if case is a correct match. Users of this information should be advised to use caution and consider the new system merely a supplemental search, at least for now.