This week in public records – Texas – Arkansas – California – Minnesota

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion that county clerks are required to remove social security numbers from documents before releasing them to the public. The outcry from county clerks, subsequently from legislators, has forced him to put a 60 day hold on enforcement while the legislators review the consequences of this sweeping directive.

Administrative rules adopted by the Arkansas Supreme court affirm public access to court records while shielding Social Security numbers. The Arkansas courts were also directed to make dockets, judgments, orders, or decrees accessible to the public online. Reported by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Plumas County California GIS Parcel Viewer application is online. Construct a topographical map of terrain features, locate real property by APN or street address and label and measure distances between features.

Minnesota state Sen. Julianne Ortman, has sponsored legislation that “would explicitly allow under statute the sealing of most conviction, arrest and other criminal justice documents held by the courts and state and local government agencies” according to the Star Tribune. Some serious felonies would be excluded. SF 294 would require employers tell prospective employees that expunged records do not have to be identified.

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6 thoughts on “This week in public records – Texas – Arkansas – California – Minnesota

  1. The proposed closure of Minnesota arrest records is a trend nationwide that unfortunately encompasses all court and recorded records. This is already affecting reliable background screening, fraud examinations and due diligence in private investigations. And sometimes when it appears that the court docket is complete, selective index listings have been removed (Florida). Recently a federal judge made a recommendation that could lead to the closure of Tennessee arrest records. It goes on and on.

    I think the driving force behind these closures, after the overblown claim of identity theft proceeding from public records, is that the exposure of people’s criminal, civil and financial activity has affected their employability.

  2. It would seem to me that the law makers are trying to carry the NO FAULT thing a little too far. Police can not profile the criminal. It goes against their rights. When you commit a crime, you give-up your rights. Not allowing a COMPLETE back ground on some one means they would rather tell the lie than the truth about some one. Maybe the people pushing this kind of law have friends in the criminal world they are trying to protect!!

  3. The Minnesota legislation:
    I read the entire article and I have to say this is a potential problem for industry seeking background checks for prospective employees and for the safety of the public in certain situations.
    And my questions continue to mount. Such as: how do you as a PI, perform an “accurate” criminal check in MN. when the records are sealed and therefor no record is found? Think abut this: You do a state crim on a nanny who comes up clean. Nanny is hired. Nanny abuses child and police investigation reveals the nanny had an arrest record for abuse. Are you now liable as PI for your inaccurate crim? Would a PI in MN be required to disclose the potential for inaccurate information to a client before he does the search? If so, then I would imagine there would be few people buying background searches.

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