This week in public records: Jurors, Courts and Sex Offenders

Juror names and jury questionnaires are public records and subject to disclosure even if a trial judge has made promises to the contrary. At least in North Dakota. A ruling by that state’s Supreme Court, cited by the Associated Press, rebuffed a trial court’s claim that the records in one case were sealed out of fear that the jurors could be harassed.

“We conclude those reasons, by themselves, are insufficient to rebut the presumption of openness and to warrant a blanket closure in this case…”

Court rulings may seem like a bouncing ball when it comes to privacy, public records and electronic messaging. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has asserted that companies do not have an automatic right to access employees’ text messages if the data is stored on outside servers. Read more about this decision and the significance for privacy and data management. Some other news stories on email access and public records can be found at WikiFOIA.

Maybe it’s a trend in the refinement of the sex offender databases and regulation of where registered sex offenders can live.Tennessee has joined Indiana (see this court ruling on the Indiana law), Missouri, Kentucky and Alaska requiring registered sex offenders submit their email addresses, which are being added to those state online databases. States can’t keep track of the physical location of registrants so the email address disclosure may not be of much value to public safety.


2 thoughts on “This week in public records: Jurors, Courts and Sex Offenders

  1. Civil liberties and cost would probably be the overriding concerns, not whether the technology is available.

  2. There are ways that states can verify the physical addresses of sex offenders, why not put a microchip on them, like a Lojack system that keeps track of them or when they stray into areas they are blocked from entering.
    We have the technology to keep kids and women safe we just have to apply it.

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