The Background Investigator October 2013 Edition


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The Background Investigator October 2013 Edition

  1. 1. Volume 13 Number 10 October 2013 PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 164 MORTONGROVE, IL Really— It’s not that Complicated! by Steve Brownstein Compliancy issues need to be better defined to fully understand the issues that beset a pre-employment screening company. Actually, the issues are quite clear and simple - easy to understand. Privacy laws cover personal data. That is information about an individual regardless of where it is stored. Many countries enacted privacy data regulations to protect the individual. Remember that, it is to protect the individual and not the government. Personal data is about the person. To access another's personal data what is needed is consent. That is it. There is no regulation to prevent any individual from giving you their information. There is no regulation preventing an individual to give you the right to any their information. Anywhere. Full Article on Page 2 Ontario Courts Read The Riot Act Blasted for withholding information Pasay City Court, Metro Manila, Philippines Photograph by Steven Brownstein Story on page 3 Steven Brownstein Report: FBI Using Drones for 7 Years Spying on Americans? Who Cares? Section 2 “On the road”
  2. 2. Straightline Simplifies Compliancy Issues Between Personal Data And Information Regulation by Steve Brownstein Compliancy issues need to be better defined to fully understand the issues that beset a pre-employment screening company. Actually, the issues are quite clear and simple easy to understand. Privacy laws cover personal data. That is information about an individual regardless of where it is stored. Many countries enacted privacy data regulations to protect the individual. Remember that, it is to protect the individual and not the government. Personal data is about the person. To access another's personal data what is needed is consent. That is it. There is no regulation to prevent any individual from giving you their information. There is no regulation preventing an individual to give you the right to any their information. Anywhere. Perhaps the one issue that confuses pre-employment screeners the most is infor- mation regulation. InforEditorial: Navy mation regulation is simply that - the regulation of dis- Case Shows semination of information Why Criminal by a government to whomRecords Vital ever the regulation is directed, business or person- by Albuquerque Journal Editorial al. That is, such as, not al- Board lowing a third party access It’s a worst-case scenario to another's information. of expunging criminal recThe reasons for the regu- ords, and the state Legislalations are varied. The reg- ture should take note. ulations can be to protect the government, as in a dic- Aaron Alexis, better known as the Washington tatorship, or the governNavy Yard shooter, lied ment can regulate information under the pretext of about a previous arrest in his application for a Navy protecting the individual. security clearance. Investigators found it, then deleted Regardless, there is no the fact he used a gun. regulation anywhere that prohibits an individual So Alexis got his clearfrom allowing another the ance. And he went on to access to their information. mow down 12 people who In other words, a person can hand you any document had simply gone to work of theirs they please. Their Sept. 16. is no regulation anywhere In 2007, 2009 and 2012, barring that. New Mexico lawmakers have approved erasing Data privacy and information regulation are two some criminal records under the rationales the greatseparate things. It is only when one lumps data priva- er good would be served by protecting the names of viccy incorrectly with information regulation or vice- tims of identity theft who had been wrongly arrested, versa that confusion.2+++++++++++++++++++ of individuals who had +++++++++++++++++++ made lone misdemeanor errors of youthful indiscre+++ sets in. tion, of honest folks who had been wrongly accused. more to character than a government-sanctioned eraser. Texas. The information will be reformatted and republished online following open practice standards. Voters need to be able to fully examine a candidate’s past. Victims need to have an official record of what was done to them. And, as the Navy yard shooting shows, employers need to be able to do thorough criminal background checks. Once the project is complete, content will be more accessible to non-legal audiences, including journalists and the general public. The remainder of state supreme and federal appellate courts in the U.S. will receive a similar treatment over the next five years When Alexis appeared in provided additional funding court, charged with shoot- is raised. The audio recording out a set of tires, charg- ings and digital content will be available through indies against him were dismissed, and he believed the vidual websites for each court and a mobile app. incident was erased from his record. Because of a Navy omission, it essentially was. And that left his coworkers at mortal risk. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has recommended beefing up background checks with all police reports – not just arrests or convictions. New Mexico lawmakers should not go in the other direction. Enhancing Public Access To Legal Data In a few years, simplified case summaries, judicial opinions and audio recordings from all federal appellate and state supreme courts could be accessible at the touch of a button. Contact: Steven Brownstein Box 10001 Saipan, MP 96950 1-670-256-7000 Or Yet every proposal went much further, wiping out records if charges were dropped, a defendant entered a pre-prosecution proThe Oyez Project at IIT gram, was acquitted or Chicago-Kent College of even convicted of DWI and Law will spearhead the efsome violent felonies. fort, aggregating docuEach proposal was wisely ments and media from Meet Steven Brownstein vetoed by the governor; the courts in California, FloriOn LinkedIn da, Illinois, New York and first two by Bill Richardson, the last by Susana PUBLISHER Steven Brownstein Martinez. Because they, like even the most forgivCONTRIBUTORS: ing and compassionate Mike Sankey, Les Rosen, Dennis Brownstein, Derek Hinton, Jamie Brownstein, Michael Brownstein members of society, recognized innocence is not the COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Pasay City Court, Metro Manila Philippines only reason a case is disCOVER PHOTOGRAPHER: missed or a prosecution Steven Brownstein lost, that many misdemeanPURPOSE: “Dedicated to pre-employment screenings everywhere” or convictions start out as felony charges, that offendThe Background Investigator is published by Steven Brownstein, LLC, ers can petition for pardon PMB 1007, Box 10001, Saipan, MP 96950. Phone: 670-256-7000. Copyright or clemency, and that learn- 2013 by Steven Brownstein. Some material in this publication must not be reproduced by any method without the written permission of the copyright holder. ing from mistakes speaks
  3. 3. Straightline International Offers Help With Understanding International Compliance by Steve Brownstein Straightline International is introducing a new service allowing pre-employment screening companies access to labor and employment lawyers from various countries worldwide. This service is being added because of the confusion surrounding privacy data and information regulation. Most likely background checking checking companies have issues with information regulation - that is, what is allowed for third parties to directly access and to what extent that information can be processed and used, This is not to be confused with privacy data, though that service will be avaailble, too. Privacy data is merely the consent of the individual to the use of their personal data. Note: Remember, consent is the overriding derivative. Straightline International believes this service will be most useful and beneficial for pre-employment screening firms to navigate the international waters allowing a more fluid and pro- ductive use of global infor- very different case loads, mation. sizes and resources of different court locations.” Look to their Web Site Ministry staff have rebeginning November 1st, 2013 for continous updates ceived numerous comto their legal resource data- plaints in recent months from the Toronto Star and base. other media outlets whose Ontario Courts attempts to access information about criminal Read The Riot charges and convictions have been rebuffed. While Act the current policy makes it clear that information from The Ministry of the Attorcourt hearings should be ney General is reviewing its made public, some staff policies on media access to have denied that inforcriminal court records in a mation because of a guidebid to make the province’s line that forbids them from justice system more open releasing a “general crimiand transparent. nal record.” An ongoing Star investigation has found court staff in Ontario are increasingly denying public access to records that legal experts say should be readily available. Media lawyers and privacy experts say these actions appear to run afoul of the country’s “open court” principle. “The openness of the court is essential to the The ministry, in consultacredibility to the court as a tion with the province’s democratic institution,” chief justices, is checking said Dan Burnett, president to see if policies must be of the Canadian Media clarified to ensure court Lawyers Association. staff are properly applying the law. Procedural barriers to accessing public court records “In some instances exist“dilute an absolutely fundaing policies are not clearly mental attribute of our jusenough expressed and as a tice system,” he said. result differing practices can develop,” a ministry Access to these historical spokeswoman said in a criminal information is one statement. “The ministry of several issues the miniscontinues to work to protry is reviewing, according vide as much consistency in to a senior official providpolicies and procedures as ing a briefing on backpossible in courts across the ground. province, recognizing the said. “When information is In May, journalists began withheld from a journalist, information is being withmaking requests at courtheld from the public by exhouses across the city for records on previous crimi- tension.” nal convictions of associWhen told of the difficulates of Mayor Rob Ford as part of the paper’s ongoing ties obtaining court records investigation. Their crimes without specific details in included assaulting women, an interview last week, Ondrug possession and threat- tario’s top privacy watchdog was concerned by court ening death. staff’s practice of not reThe records, known with- leasing the information. in courthouse walls as “the “That offends me because information,” feature a brief synopsis of the charg- people hide behind privacy. es and, if guilty, the punish- That has nothing to do with ment. It is the Coles Notes privacy. You have to know to what happened in a trial. the date (and other specifics about the offence) and if However, the attempts to you know that you can get the information?” said Ann access some of these records were denied because Cavoukian, Ontario’s Inforits applications were miss- mation and Privacy Commissioner. ing required information, such as the exact date of “Ultimately, the inforconviction. Court staff, who could verify the date mation is accessible if you have the right key.” with a few taps of a keyboard, refused to help, citThe ministry said it has ing ministry policy. reviewed its policy on an ongoing basis since first Journalists in Ontario have often been ensnared in posting it online in 2007. Since then, it’s made it easthis kind of courthouse Catch-22, said Lisa Taylor, ier to access records covered by certain publication a lawyer and professor at bans and future court dates Ryerson University’s for youth. School of Journalism. The ministry’s review is “You can’t get the file without the information and ongoing and any policy changes are expected to be you can’t get the information without the damned rolled out in waves. file,” Taylor said. “It’s tougher in Ontario than in most other jurisdictions in Canada.” Historical criminal records contain information that could have been readily reported had a journalist been in the courtroom, she said. However, in many instances, the public’s interest in a matter arises after the case is done, she said. Taylor used the hypothetical example of a driver who recorded his 12th drunk driving offence, making his first unremarkable conviction newsworthy. “The journalist is the surrogate for the public,” she
  4. 4. Includes London city-wide magistrate court checks When you REALLY need something done, call STEVEN BROWNSTEIN POINT TO POINT SERVICE XR2 Better Than The Police -/-/-/-/-/Straightline International’s Puerto Rico search will get you the hits the police and courts miss. Criminal Search PUERTO RICO The ‘XR2’ Puerto Rico search is insurance that you are getting the best possible results. We’ve all been doing this long enough... Shouldn’t you be offering your clients the best? Call 1-866-909-6678 Straightline International Alberta Nova Scotia British Columbia Ontario Manitoba Prince Edward Islands New Brunswick Quebec New Foundland Saskatchewan Northwest Territories Yukon Territories
  5. 5. The Public Record Update A Service from BRB Publications, Inc. National Average - Court Fees for Name Searches BRB Publications recently completed a statistical analysis to determine the national average of fees charged by court personnel for performing a name search of either the criminal or civil docket. The study included 4,731 criminal courts and 4,815 civil courts at the county level. Per the stats below, quite a few courts (over 20%) refuse to perform a name search for the public. They will refer a requester to an online system or a state repository. Of course, if a case number is given the court will pull the file. Guidelines Used on the Analysis: If the court charged by the year, seven years was used as the baseline. If the court's fee is based on an hourly rate, an average of 12 minutes per search was used as the baseline. Since the search fee in some courts is sometimes based on the number of case files to pull (hits), the study included 3 different fee levels: if the name search resulted in no hits, with one hit, and with 3 hits. Criminal Court Results Total number of courts surveyed: Courts willing to do a name search: National average fee if no hits: 4,731 3,566 (75.4%) $8.17 Average fee if one hit: $8.35 Average fee if three hits: $8.66 Courts that perform name search for free: Cost to do national search: 1,091 (23%) $29,105.10 Civil Court Results Total number of courts surveyed: Courts willing to do a name search: National average fee if no hits: 4,815 3,716 (77%) $6.85 Average fee if one hit: $6.98 Average fee if three hits: $7.23 Courts that perform name search for free: Cost to do national search: 1,098 (22.8%) $25,451.25 Counties and Courts with Highest Fees in U.S. The county with the highest fee for a name search for either a civil or criminal record is Cook County IL. The fee is $9.00 per year searched or $63 for a 7 year search. The Superior Court in Cochise County AZ charges $27 per 5 years searched, so a 7-year search costs $54. Also, 44 counties in IL charge $6.00 per name per year making the fee for a 7-year search at $42.00. When the court tacks on additional fees to pull case files - such as the 3 hit fee reviewed above - the courts with the highest fees are 13 (or more) Justice Courts located in these Arizona counties: Cochise, Coconino, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo, Pinal, and Yavapai. The search fee is $25.00 per name plus $25.00 for each case file that needs to be viewed. (The case file fee is charged even if the case number is already known.) Thus a single request for a name search that necessitates the need to pull 3 case files will cost $100 - or nearly 12 times the national average. The practice of charging this fee seems to fluctuate at times though, depending on which clerk doing the search or if the judge is asked "what is the fee?" The statute is somewhat unclear thus the fee is often left for local interpretation. The information for this study was taken from the Public Record Research System (PRRS). We welcome your comments and observations about The Public Record Update Please address your comments to Michael Sankey at Making copies of any part of the Public Record Update© for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is obtained from BRB Publications. Phone - 480-829-7475 Public Record Retriever Network - The CRA Help Desk - BRB's Free Public Record Resource Center - Motor Vehicle Record Decoder - BRB's Public Record Blog - BRB's Bookstore - BRB's Public Record Blog -
  6. 6. Les Rosen’s Corner A monthly column By Lester Rosen, Attorney at Law employer that drug tested opposed to 45.9 percent of white workers. •Younger African American males living in nonurban areas and likely working “blue collar” jobs were associated with reporting of workplace level drug testing. •African Americans were associated with reporting of workplace level drug testing among executive/ administrative/managerial/ financial workers and technicians/related support occupations. •Hispanics were associated with reporting of workplace level drug testing among technicians/related support occupations. Workplace Drug Testing More Common Among The study – authored by African American William C. Becker MD, Workers Study Finds Salimah Meghani PhD, Risk: Strategies For Background Checks After Hiring’ at an ASIS Golden Gate Chapter meeting held at Skywalker Ranch on Lucas Valley Road in Marin County, California. “Due diligence does not stop once an applicant is hired,” explains Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ and a frequent presenter nationwide on issues involving due diligence as part of the ‘ESR Speaks’ training program. “An organization may have procedures for pre-employment background checks, but what duties and tools do employers have after someone is hired and on the job?” September 2013 Employment Jeanette M. Tetrault MD, African American workers and David A. Fiellin MD – Situation Report from DOL Postponed are 17 percent more likely found that “racial/ethnic Due to Government than white workers to redifferences in report of port working for employers workplace drug testing ex- Shutdown that perform workplace drug testing, according to a study from the Yale School of Medicine published in the Early View of the American Journal on Addictions available at http:// doi/10.1111/j.15210391.2013.12109.x/ abstract. The study – ‘Racial/ethnic differences in report of drug testing practices at the workplace level in the U.S.’ – analyzed nearly 70,000 responses from the 2008– 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the relationship between race and ethnicity in workplace drug testing among white, Hispanic, and African American workers 18 years or older. The results of the study include the following: •Among 69,163 respondents, 48.2 percent reported employment in a workplace that performs drug testing. •Of the 48.2 percent reporting workplace drug testing, 63.6 percent of African American workers reported working for an ist within and across various occupations” and also “highlights the potential bias that can be introduced when drug testing policies are not implemented in a universal fashion,” according to its authors. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has postponed the release the September 2013 Employment Situation report compiled by the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) originally planned for Friday, October 4, 2013 “due to the Background Check Expert Lester Rosen lapse in funding” and an alternative release date has Speaks to ASIS not yet been scheduled, acGolden Gate Chapter cording to news release available at http:// Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of San press/opa/ Francisco Bay area backOPA20132030.htm. ground check firm Employment Screening ReThe full statement on the sources® (ESR), will dis- release of September 2013 cuss ‘Reducing The Insider employment numbers from the DOL reads as follows: “Due to the lapse in funding, the Employment Situation release which provides data on employment during the month of September, compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, will not be issued as scheduled on Friday, October 4, 2013. An alternative release date has not been scheduled. The Employment Situation release includes the unemployment rate (from the household survey) and payroll employment (from the business establishment survey).” NAPBS International Committee Readies RFP For USA Companies Seeking Background Screener ing companies to claim non -existent offices, in other words, as one Lynwood, Washington international criminal record provider put it, "With companies we have affiliations with." The other record searching company voting in favor of listing fictitious offices was a Florida based company. Straightline International's representative in attendance, Steven Brownstein, and the majority of those present were shocked and soundly voted down the proposal claiming that faking international presence would only taint our industry. A look at one of the criminal record company's Web Site, the Lynwood, Washington based company in favor of non-existent offices as their own, lists just that on their Web Site - offices of other companies not theirs and temporary business offices as if they were their own. Other proposals were Recently, at the NAPBS changes to the Safe Harbor, annual conference, the in- privacy data, and inforternational committee met, mation regulation quesabout 20 attendees in all, to tions. discuss the upcoming reAdditionally, Bob lease of an RFP proposal template for USA compa- Capwell and Barry Nixon, nies to request international are to be commended as beacons of reason against work. outlandish proposals Many foreign nationals were present, but most of the comments were from What is a good USA criminal record procriminal viders. record search? Two of them, and one preemployment screening firm, even voted for allow- You can count on Steven Brownstein and Straightline International
  7. 7. required candidates to submit a statement on legal proceedings against them, even though the lottery is not among the bodies allowed by law to receive such information. The tender committee decided Dayan did not meet the minimal criteria for the tender, A special panel of seven as he was investigated on Supreme Court justices will bribery charges relating to a previous lottery tender in soon decide whether it is 2004. After Mifal Hapayis legal for an employer to demand the disclosure of a banned Dayan, the case against him was closed in job applicant’s criminal 2009 for a lack of evidence. record, and whether such disclosure can be required Dayan went to court against the national lottery, asking in other circumstances, such as a condition for bid- for NIS 13 million in damages. The District Court ding on a tender. ruled against him, as did The Supreme Court ruled the Supreme Court on his appeal. in February that such demands were legal, but now The Public Defender's Ofthe new, expanded panel, headed by Supreme Court fice also submitted an opinion in the case, saying the President Asher Grunis, court's ruling contradicts will rehear the case. Last week Attorney General Ye- the law on the criminal dahuda Weinstein submitted tabase records, and causes serous damage to the prehis opinion, in which he states that such a demand - sumption of innocence. including for disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or any open criminal Cedar Rapids investigations, including Offering Tenant ones that never even reached the indictment Background stage - should be legally Checks For barred. However, Weinstein did write that an em- Landlords ployer should be allowed to ask a candidate about any The Cedar Rapids Police criminal past in a job interDepartment is now offering view. $8 background checks for Cedar Rapids landlords. In the February ruling, the Supreme Court allowed The program is called Sesuch requests for a declaracure and Friendly Environtion on a criminal record, ment for Cedar Rapids, or even though by law the emSAFE-CR, and will be ployer is not allowed access managed by the police deto such records. The court partment. ruled that the right to privacy and the state's interest in The program officially rehabilitating prisoners was kicked off on Oct. 1, but offset by the rights of emthe police department is ployers and others to prooffering the service early. tect themselves and the public "from unreasonable City code requires that risks." Landlord Business Permit Holders perform backThe case being reheard ground checks on all adults involves an appeal by Rawho newly occupy a rental fael Dayan, who participatunit. ed in a tender published by the Mifal Hapayis national At a minimum, the backlottery to choose regional ground checks require redistributors. Mifal Hapayis Israeli Supreme Court To Rule On Demand For Disclosure Of Criminal Record (Again) ments/police/Pages/ SafeCR.aspx. - See more at: http:// cedar-rapids-offeringtenant-background-checksThe SAFE-CR check will for-landlords/ also include Cedar Rapids #sthash.fs6R45vD.dpuf arrest information not included in the Iowa Courts Online report and will indicate if the tenant has any Download active warrants in Iowa. ports of activity from Iowa Courts Online, the Iowa Sex Offender Registry and the National Sex Offender Registry. Registered landlords with a valid Landlord Business Permit can access the program at depart- The Background Investigator Current Edition (and archive, too!) Saipan Searches From $15* *CNMI Traffic Clearance Certificate Straightline Int’l +18669096678 “You can do it yourself, wait in line or we can” —Straightline
  8. 8. Dennis Brownstein’s Extreme Court News Marijuana Grower Killed by Own Booby Trap nia, just a hop away from a nationally recognized ice cream maker - for those that do not know, I am an ice cream queen. I consider this particular manufacturer to be one of the best in their industry because of the care that they take in their products. A 50-year-old town man I regularly see the cows died after he apparently be- that provide the cream. came the victim of booby They eat the freshest grass traps he had set to protect available. marijuana plants on his This attention to detail comes out in the quality of their products. Download The Background Investigator Current Edition (and archive, too!)   NYPD Memo: Indians Are Asian property, Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple said. Daniel R. Ricketts was driving an ATV in the New York City police officers received a lesson in backyard of his property demography Monday in the around 2:30 p.m. Saturday form of a memo clarifying when was nearly decapitatthe difference between Na- ed after running into a fine, tive Americans and Asian nearly invisible wire that was among the fortificaIndians. tions set up around four Commissioner Ray Kelly large marijuana plants, Apple said. told NYPD officers that "incorrect racial identification impacts the department's data collection" in Robin's the memo. Rumination Apparently in a modest number of reports, crime victims were alternatively described as Asian and American Indian. The mistake was discovered by the Quality Assurance Division, reports the New York Daily News. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ... I'm lucky to live and work in south central Pennsylva- ID Check or Makeover?
  9. 9. Graffiti Laws Could Turn Hopscotch Drawing Into Criminal Offense A new proposed antigraffiti law in New South Wales Parliament would make any intentional mark on any premise or property without the permission of the owner an offense, according to Australia’s ABC Media. Perhaps in an effort to teach children good manners, Shoebridge said “unless the kids get the consent of the local council they’re committing an offense.” If children get caught by authorities they can face a $440 fine, which Shoebridge says is “just nonsense.” Attorney-General Greg Smith said drawing in chalk will technically be an offense, but that while poHow strict would this law lice always will have the be? It would include the discretion about whether to hopscotch squares drawn press charges. on the sidewalks we all remember from our childSmith thinks it will be unhoods. likely that police will be citing children for drawing Greens Party member Dain chalk on sidewalks. vid Shoebridge told ABC Media there is no requirement in the legislation for a 'Revenge Porn' mark to be permanent or Posters Face Jail difficult to remove, meanTime Under New ing yes, the chalk hopscotch squares or handball California Law courts drawn on footpaths and sidewalks would be Those who engage in considered as punishable "revenge porn" -- humiliatoffenses. “destroying people's lives.” ing ex-romantic partners online -- now face jail time The bill that Brown and fines under a law signed into law on Tuessigned by Gov. Jerry day, SB 255, takes effect Brown. immediately. Under the bill by Sen. An"Until now, there was no thony Cannella (R-Ceres), those convicted of illegally tool for law enforcement to distributing private images protect victims," Cannella with the intent to harass or said. "Too many have had their lives upended because annoy face up to six months in jail and a fine of of an action of another that they trusted." up to $1,000. viral. Her ex-boyfriend contends that the picture got out because his computer was hacked, but however it happened, the damage was done. Less than a year later, Jacobs' photo was on some 200 websites, along with her name, email address and place of business, despite changing her phone The effort to criminalize number and name, quitting Cannella contended that her job and unsucessfully without the law, authorities the practice gained steam have had "no tools to com- after Holly Jacobs broke up trying to get the photos rebat revenge porn or cyber- with her boyfriend, only to moved. She started a webfind a naked picture of her- site with a petition drive for revenge.” Electronically legislative action. distributing or posting nude self posted on her Facepictures of an ex-romantic book page. The post went partner on the Internet after a breakup to shame the person in public is, he said,
  10. 10. Kadman believes that things are not as bad as the police brass say and that teens are “being given a bad name.” He concedes the existence of juvenile Last year nine minors crime but says: “the police from a city in the south themselves show a decline were taken to court. The in juvenile crime over the charge? Jumping around in past decade and at the same an elevator. We can undertime talk about it in terms stand that they were botherof Iran.” ing the neighbors, but it’s hard to see that as a reason Among the countries that for opening a criminal file are members of the Organiagainst 15-year-olds. zation for Economic Development, Israel is in a In another city in the reasonable place when it south a 16-year-old boy comes to juvenile crime was indicted for throwing a and violence. On one hand, plant into a sink in a public it’s hard to deny the existbuilding. In yet another city ence of teen violence – in in the north, criminal public parks, on the beach charges were brought and in schools. Some recent against teenage boys who extreme cases have ended found a cash register that in murder, such as that of burglars had taken from a George Saado, who was out local shop, despite the taking his dog for a walk boys’ version of events and when he was shot by teens the fact that the register in Ramle. was almost empty. Another boy was charged with stealIn 2012, 25,182 criminal ing hood ornaments from files were opened against cars. The charge was minors. That figure is lower dropped, but the criminal than it was in 2011 record remains. (25,674) and lower still A criminal record can dethan in 2010 (29,629). In stroy a teen’s life. The Israthe early 2000s, the number el Defense Forces won’t of criminal cases opened draft these kids and quite a against juveniles stood at few work places will bar 36,000 a year. Juvenile them. And yet, it is all too crime constitutes 7 percent easy to file charges against to 8 percent of all crime in teens. According to the Israel, a figure that fluctuCouncil for the Welfare of ates very little. What has the Child, the record rechanged are the types of mains even after charges crime: In 2012, the most are dropped. According to common crimes were the council’s director, Dr. against property – 6,995 Yitzhak Kadman, “To excases, a few hundred more punge a minor’s criminal than the year before. More record, he has to confess juveniles were charged and show remorse, and with drug infractions in even then, only in certain 2012 – 4,411 as opposed to cases.” 4,025 in 2011. In that year, most of the charges against Last month, Police Comteens were for disturbing missioner Yohanan Danino the peace, for which 8,221 told the Knesset Interior files opened. But by 2012, Committee that every year that figure had dropped to criminal files are opened 6,915. Security related against some 9,000 children charges against teens also between the ages of 12 to dropped, with 1,495 files 17. At the Herzliya Conferopened, 153 fewer than in ence last month, Danino the previous year. said that teen violence was equivalent to “external As in other countries, inthreats that Israel is dealing carceration is considered a with.” last resort for teens; only 208 teens are now in the Sinned As A Kid? On Record For Life In Israel Ofek Prison. Of these, 48 were convicted of violent crimes, 26 of crimes against property and 31 of disturbing the peace. The rest were serving time for various charges, from robbery to security infractions. case is reconsidered and their record can be expunged. Last year, 1,200 teens took part in the program, and Danino has decided to extend it nationwide. one point the station thieves attacked the station and the employees. M.A. fought to protect his fellow workers, but the police arrested him after they found out he had a record. He was released only after a security tape confirmed his version of events. Nevertheless, the police For teens convicted of less have been criticized by serious offenses, rehabilita- youth court judges for the tion is considered the best ease with which they file A happy ending? Not course. To that end, a num- charges against teens. quite. The army refused to draft him because of his ber of programs have been opened by the police, local M.A., from central Israel, record. authorities, the Social Ser- knows first-hand what this vices Ministry and various can mean. When he was 15 NO DELAYS organizations. In one such years old, he was caught Not a Police initiative, which started in with friends who were Data Base Search the south, a program repre- stealing from a store. He Canada sentative is on staff at the told the court he had no local police station, tasked part in the crime; the court Provincial Courts Criminal Research with locating teens facing believed him and he was Call 1-866-909-6678 criminal charges and bring- put into a rehabilitation Or Fax 1-866-909-6679 ing them into a four-month program. While he was in Straightline International Shortest distance between you and the courts group therapy setting. If the program he began they stay the course, their working at a gas station. At .
  11. 11. Derek Hinton “In My Opinion” and others. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information is correct, listing dates and constitutions in particular are subject to change. Up Call: Are Your Background Checks Giving You a False Sense of Security?" offers employers five http:// essential steps to understanding listing_calendar/index.jsp how to conduct a comprehensive criminal records background "Time for a check. Wake-Up Call: Are Your UK Case Background Tracker for Civil Checks Giving Appeals Online You a False The Case Tracker allows Sense of users to search for inforSecurity?" mation on applications or The five-step guide provides employers with advice regarding name and their background checks address history traces, ways and whether or not they to expand their search pe- need to institute change." rimeter and how to thoroughly vet their providers. In addition, EmployeeScreenIQ's guide inBy Nick Fishman cludes best practices to proappeals in the Court of Aptect organizations from inpeal, Civil Division. Users Employers who rely on ferior background checks are also able to search for criminal when screening information on applications job candidates may be liv- and questions to ask current or prospective background or appeals heard in the last ing with a false sense of 31 days. You can search for security - and setting them- screening providers. The article is available for a case in the following selves up for a potential download here. three ways: fall. By Case Number – The case number for the case needs to be 8 digits long and must be entered in the following format, without any spaces or oblique strokes: 20051234; To help companies better understand what a comprehensive criminal records background check should entail, EmployeeScreenIQ is offering an instructive guide aimed at HR professionals responsible for their By Title – The title can be organizations' background entered using the names of screening programs. either party. For example, in the case of Smith & Co v The complimentary white Jones, either "Smith" or paper, "Time for a Wake"Jones" can be entered to search; and By Date – A date of hearing can be entered in the following format DDMMM-YY eg: 15–Jan–09, or you can click the calendar icon and choose a date from the pop–up calendar. For confirmation of the judges hearing your case, the time and location of the hearing, please check the Daily List from 14:30 the working day before your case is due to be heard, or call the Listing Office. Information is provided in good faith for the convenience of court users "Criminal background check is an extremely vague term and it's not always synonymous with comprehensive criminal background check," says Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer for EmployeeScreenIQ. "By following the steps outlined in the guide, employers should have a much better sense of the quality and accuracy of WebSite: [background checks] :
  12. 12. Florida Lawmakers Seek Tighter Controls On Drug Database State health officials say they're handling it, but lawmakers believe more needs to be done to make sure that Floridians' private prescription information stays out of the wrong hands. House and Senate committees heard updates Tuesday about the release earlier this year of more than 3,200 names and prescription information to defense lawyers in a Volusia County-area drug trafficking sting. The Department of Health is pursuing new rules to protect the privacy of individuals whose prescriptions are captured in the prescription-drug monitoring program, created by lawmakers to combat prescription drug abuse and cut down on "doctor shopping." But the release of the records has heightened concerns about the database for some lawmakers who have been leery of possible privacy breeches since the program's inception. "My gut tells me changes need to be made," Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said after hearing from Becky Poston, manager of the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Poston told lawmakers that the Department of Health, which oversees the database, "shares your concerns" and conducted an internal investigation after the release of the records was reported. The department held two rule-making workshops to "strengthen accountability" of the program, she said. The database, which went online two years ago, now contains more than 85 milBean agreed and said the lion prescription records and has been tapped into by problem was that so many law enforcement investiga- names wound up on the list tors 32,000 times, or nearly in the first place. 50 requests for records dai"We have to figure out ly, according to Poston. why it happened and then Pharmacists are required we're going to figure out to enter all prescriptions for what to do to make sure it controlled substances, in- doesn't happen again," he said. "Security's a big deal. cluding medications like Nobody wants their names oxycodone and Valium, into the database. Doctors out there. Government are not required to consult doesn't need to know this it before writing prescrip- information unless there's a tions. Law enforcement of- specific cause." ficials are permitted to access the database for active Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of investigations. Florida, which opposed the database from the beginThis spring, a Federal Drug Administration inves- ning, believe lawtigator generated thousands enforcement officials are of records as part of an in- able to cast too wide a net when searching for records. ter-agency prescription fraud case that resulted in The ACLU wants investithe arrests of seven individ- gators to obtain warrants to access the database and aluals, six of whom were so wants the names of anycharged with crimes. one not under active investigation redacted from recDaytona Beach lawyer ords used in criminal cases. Michael Lambert, whose name and prescription drug history were included in the ACLU of Florida lobbyist list of 3,300 others released Pamela Burch Fort told the by State Attorney R.J. Lar- committees the types of searches law-enforcement izza to defense attorneys but who was not under in- officials are allowed should vestigation, is challenging be narrowed to prevent the constitutionality of the "fishing expeditions." database in court. Attorney General Pam Bondi, an ar- Rules proposed by the Dedent proponent of the data- partment of Health, which base who helped convince a oversees the database, skeptical Gov. Rick Scott would address that in part to sign off on it and whose by eliminating queries for office is representing Lar- names that sound like othizza, asked the judge to dis- ers. The proposed rule miss the case. No ruling has changes would also create a log of those people requestbeen made. ing database records and Lambert learned his name require anyone receiving was on the list from one of the information to sign an affidavit. The proposal the defense lawyers, who spotted his name and gave would also limit reports to PDF format, meaning they him a copy of the disks would be more difficult to containing the records. sort, and label all records as State law makes it a felo- "confidential." Poston said ny to knowingly distribute the program will also conrecords from the database duct audits to circumvent to unauthorized individuals. inappropriate use of the daBut Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a tabase. Hollywood Democrat who But Bean wasn't consupports the database, vinced the rule changes go called the lawyer in the far enough to ensure "that Volusia County case "a whistleblower" and said he names that aren't related to a case aren't released." shouldn't be punished. a series of enhancements to "We have to assume that the online Kansas County anytime we give it out to District Court Records anybody that they're going Search application. The to go out to The News Ser- most notable enhancement vice of Florida and give it incorporates a new, userout to everybody," Bean friendly platform that altold Poston during the lows Kansans to perform meeting. Kansas County District Court Records searches "I hope that's not the case from a mobile device. because you've created penalties for the improper reDesigned to provide imlease of that information. mediate online access to It's a felony," Poston said. Kansas County District Court Records full court "But it hasn't worked. Be- case histories, the applicacause the names are out tion allows Kansas citizens there," he said. to search court cases by county and court type, or The database has been case number. troubled since lawmakers first created it in 2009 but "We view this project as refused to fund it and one step in many we are banned drug companies taking to make the Kansas from contributing to the courts more accessible and foundation tasked with transparent in this digital finding the money to oper- age. This award points out ate it, an estimated the fact that our citizens are $500,000 per year. now more than ever before gaining convenient access Despite several federal to their courts, wherever grants that helped get the they may be," said Kelly database up and running in O'Brien, Director of Infor2011, funding has been mation Services for the Ofproblematic for the founda- fice of Judicial Administration. The Legislature this tion. year agreed for the first time to spend $500,000 on In addition to enhanced the program and removed mobile experience, the rethe ban on contributions vamped Kansas County from drug manufacturers. District Court Records Search application also offers the following: Kansas Recieves Best Digital Online Achievement Award -- Streamlined look and feel for traditional desktop users -- Ability to search each court by a given time period takes users straight to details of a case The Kansas District Court Searches may be conducted Search Records online serfor $1 per search. Results vice has won a 2013 Digital may be viewed for $1 per Government Achievement record. A $95 per year subAwards (DGAA) from scription service is availae.Republic's Center for ble for users who prefer to Digital Government. The be invoiced monthly. DGAA recognize outstanding agency and department websites and applications based on innovation, functionality, and efficiency. In 2012, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration (OJA), in partnership with, launched
  13. 13. Parma, OH Muni Court Going Online Parma Municipal Court will soon begin the process of converting its voluminous collection of paper records into digital images, an initiative that is predicted to eventually save space and time. said it will take considerable time. grow to allow attorneys to electronically submit paperwork and judges to provide required signatures digitally. The Cuyahoga County Department of Regional Collaboration recently offered to help communities "It's basically heading todigitize their records. Cas- ward a paperless system," tro explored this option, but she said. said the county's services would be limited to scanSupply Of ning the records at a cost of 3-10 cents per page, requir- Documents From ing the court to still invest England Court in the management softRecords – Genware. Court IT Manager Chris Castro said the project is eral primarily a result of a Looking forward, Castro change in Ohio law several said the court's modernized 5.4 (1) A court or court years ago that increased the record-keeping system may period courts must retain records from seven years to 25 years for traffic cases and 50 years for criminal cases. With the court already occupying two full rooms with records, and storage spilling over into other city facilities, Castro said digitization is the only answer. "If you don't come up with a different way to keep your records, you're going to have to buy buildings to keep them," she said. City Council on Monday approved the purchase of a roughly $47,000 software system that will manage the digital records after they are manually scanned. This will interface with the court's case management system, Castro said, eliminating the need to physically retrieve related records, and allowing access to the information at any time. Once the software has been received, Castro said the court will "go live" by digitizing records for new and active cases. Interns will begin processing the court's archives in December. Castro was not able to provide an estimate as to when all the court's records will be converted into digital format, but with the court handling almost 30,000 cases per year, she office may keep a publicly accessible register of claims which have been issued out of that court or court office. (2) Any person who pays the prescribed fee may, during office hours, search any available register of claims. Special sale in England going on now
  14. 14. Chinese Courts Put More Criminal Trials Online Chinese courts are increasingly using social media, such as the Twitter-like Weibo, to broadcast live updates from courtrooms in a move that analysts say is aimed at gaining public trust. The trend appears to be accelerating following the high-profile trial of Bo Xilai, a former rising politician who stood trial in August for corruption and abuse of power. on Monday, the Beijing First Intermediate Court published 11 updates, including photos of the defendants - the accused murderer Han Lei, and a friend who allegedly helped him flee the scene of the crime. Still images taken from a surveillance video at the crime scene were posted online, as well as summaries of the prosecution charges and of the defendant’s apology and claims of remorse. Jacques Delisle, professor of law and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania said that although the trend towards Although media access to more transparency is unthe courtroom was restrict- mistakable, the reasons ed, the court posted lengthy might vary from case to transcripts during the five- case. day trial, attracting more “The Bo case was, it apthan half a million Weibo followers. pears, an attempt to confirm that we are not back in Analysts say the openness the old Mao days or Stalin during Bo Xilai’s trial is style political trials, that he having a broader impact. had a chance to present a defense,” Delisle said in an “It has increased the pub- email to VOA. lic’s expectations,” said King-Wa Fu, assistant pro- “With other trials, there is fessor at the Journalism and obviously less of that going Media Studies center at the on... One can read them as University of Hong Kong an attempt to show that the “The public wants more authorities are on the job transparency and they want and the criminal justice sysmore open data to the pub- tem is working and dealing lic.” with behavior that ordinary people fear and condemn.” Meanwhile, courts in Beijing and Nanjing released Chinese media reports say live updates from at least that last year more than 600 three high profile criminal courts used official Weibo trials - although the proaccounts, and 17 of them ceedings were speedier and regularly used their mithe defense more subdued croblog to broadcast live than in Bo’s case. information from trials. In one instance, a man was accused of having killed an infant after a brawl with the baby’s mother over a parking space in Daxing, one of Beijing’s mega districts, in late July. The incident has been hotly debated in Chinese media because of the brutal and random nature of the crime. During the four hour trial opinion battlefields, other But in practice, Duan said, people will occupy them.” access to hearings or court the article read. documents has often been Analysts agree that in redenied. cent years the party has “It often happens that the been perfecting the way it courts' leaders who decide sends its message to the public, while at the same the seatings during a trial time tightly controlling let government staff or even police and investiga- public discourse online. tors participate in the hearing, but the public and even “It is open but still within a very controlled environjournalists are never allowed in. This has created a ment,” King-Wa Fu said. “It picks up the information huge problem of public that it feels comfortable to mistrust of courts.” make open. But it does not mean that in the public peoBy showcasing trials online the courts are trying ple can have more space to to win that trust back, ana- speak openly.” lysts said. But there is some consenDuring the last meeting of sus among analysts in China that the trend towards China’s legislature in more openness within the March, Zhou Qiang was judiciary cannot be reappointed as head of the People’s Supreme Court. His election created some expectation of reform among legal scholars, particularly after a speech in late May where Zhou encouraged lower courts to be more transparent. “Openness should be the principle,” Zhou was quoted as saying during the meeting. Commentaries on state media as well as policy documents from China's propaganda departments have fleshed out the rationale behind this new approach. In an article on the People's Daily this week, the director of China's State Internet Information Office - the organ that oversees the Internet in China - used war metaphors when talking about the Party's need for a tougher hand on propaganda work. Duan Wanjin, a Shaanxibased criminal lawyer said that such efforts towards transparency are a first step towards more substantial “If we do not effectively reform of the judiciary in occupy emerging public China. The law in China mandates that with the exception of cases involving state secrets or individual privacy, all criminal trials should be open to the public. versed, whether the party likes it or not. Barry Nixon: Blast From The Past Congratulations to Steve Brownstein and Phyllis Nadel of The Background Investigator for another superb conference. Attendance was 401, up substantially, with more than two dozen vendors exhibiting their services to the industry and a slate of interesting, professional presenters keying in on topics extremely important to the attendees.
  15. 15. Georgia Senators Hear Hard Stories Of Criminal Records Problem Sarah Hamilton’s January arrest based on a mistaken identity has kept the whole family in turmoil even after police dropped the charges against the 26-year-old former honors graduate, her father told a hushed Senate hearing Tuesday. “The system carelessly wronged a private citizen, my daughter Sarah. Is it not the government’s moral obligation to correct it?” asked John Hamilton, chairman of the healthtextile company Compass Group of McDonough ords. Experts say Georgia — which has one of the nation’s highest incarceration rates — is among the toughest on young people trying to find jobs after getting a criminal record, even when charges are dropped. John Hamilton said he expects it will take many more months to have her record clean, running the risk that her reputation and career could be damaged in the meantime by anyone looking at government records on the Internet. “Sarah doesn’t deserve this treatment,” he said, noting that a cab driver mistook her for another woman in her apartment complex who was too drunk to pay the fare. sa Dodson, a staff attorney rent workers. “I have to continue to tell with the State Bar of Georgia’s Georgia Justice Proemployers that I have a That equals to a ject. firearms charge, and I’ve 0.000352941 hit ratio only found one employer three ten-thousandths of “It’s very difficult to un- one percent that will hire me,” he said. ring that bell, and it’s devExisting law allows first astating for people who are That's the same as doing wrongly accused,” she said. 85,000 searches in one offenders and those charged as juveniles to county and getting 30 hits; The committee has four wipe their records clean more meetings scheduled two years after their senor 8500 searches and gettence, but they have to re- before the General Assem- ting 3 hits; quest it. Many other states bly convenes Jan. 13. It is likely to take the testimony or 2833 searches and getdo it automatically. Correcting errors in the record and consider drafting rec- ting 1 hit. ommendations for revising is more cumbersome, acthe law, according to Sen. Or 10 searches….OMG! cording to witnesses. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican who chairs the A change taking effect this year is supposed to im- study committee and the prove the process, but ex- Senate Judiciary Committee. perts told the committee many problems still need to Contact: be addressed. What's Your Hit One challenge is the fact Thomas Weaver of Can- that arrest reports are public records available to anyone, ton also testified that his The story he recounted including credit-reporting career had been harmed provided a dramatic climax because he was convicted agencies and companies to a morning-long hearing of carrying a gun in a pub- that publicize crime news. of a special Senate commitlic park just months before Those companies often tee studying the issue of the legislature changed the keep outdated records expungement reform, the law to make it permissible. online, according to Marisremoval of criminal rec- Ratio? Spot-checks on people already working in Australian child-related employment came back with 30 records found by the state Police system. They checked over 85,000 cur- Steven Brownstein Box 10001 Saipan, MP 96950 +1-670-256-7000
  16. 16. October 2013 scenes since 2006, longer than previously known, according to the 35-page inspector genOperating with almost no eral’s audit of public notice, the FBI has drones used by the Justice spent more than $3 million Department. to operate a fleet of small drone aircraft in domestic The FBI unmanned planes investigations, according to weigh less than 55 pounds a report released Thursday each and are unarmed, the by a federal watchdog report said. The FBI deagency. clined requests to discuss its drone operations ThursThe unmanned surveilday. lance planes have helped FBI agents storm barricadAuditors also found that ed buildings, track criminal the ATF had bought drones suspects and examine crime Report: FBI Using Drones for 7 Years and planned to use them. The U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which also fall under the Justice Department, purchased and tested drones but decided not to deploy them in active operations. Straightline gets it done in Vietnam
  17. 17. Europe's Marijuana Capital Isn't Amsterdam The last time police tried to enter the mountainside village of Lazarat near this historic southern city last summer, they prompted a ferocious firefight a local police commissioner describes as “very much like a real war.” Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being ostracized, he said he was part of a special forces operation during which sniper units occupied high ground as SWAT teams moved in to arrest a handful of people working in fields surrounding the village. They were no ordinary fields: Lazarat is known as Albania’s drug capital, notorious for its cannabis and lawlessness. The annual crop earns almost $6 billion, according to the Italian financial po- formation of a government As Albania’s economy following national elections has slumped in the last few years thanks to the economAlthough local police dis- in June to invest large pute that figure, they admit funds in the fields this year. ic crises in neighboring Greece and Italy, Lazarat that marijuana production Law enforcement agencies has prospered. is booming. have taken few preventive Intelligence reports sugLast year’s raid didn’t last measures, enabling gest the village cultivated long. When officers began Lazarat’s illegal trade to more than 60 acres of land flourish. Any moves cutting down cannabis this year, an estimated plants, 15 SUVs mounted against the village now 300,000 plants that could could prompt a “bloody with heavy machine guns yield as much 500 tons of war,” he added. materialized and started marijuana. firing. Instead, the police spend Photographs taken with “We were drawing indis- the better part of the sumcriminate fire from 20 posi- mer stopping water trucks long-range zoom lenses show terraced plantations tions, including heavy ma- from entering the village and arresting migrant labor- that have turned the barren chine guns and anti-tank scrapes of mountain land missiles,” the commission- ers headed there. They into a lush green oasis. seize any cannabis shiper said. “I saw a 70-yearold grandmother shooting ments they notice coming Journalists trying to enter at us with a heavy machine out. the village risk as much as gun. I thought I was going police. The traffickers paLast year, the haul to die.” amounted to nearly 15 tons trol the main road and trail of marijuana, while another cars to discourage reporters Worried about civilian casualties, the police with- ten tons were seized at vari- from bringing unwanted publicity. drew as snipers disabled the ous borders. SUVs with explosive bulCannabis is usually plant- Last month, traffickers lets. ed in May and harvested in spotted two local journalists and a French videograThey haven’t been back. September. Up to 90 perThe commissioner said that cent of village residents — pher. drugs traffickers have taken 7,000 in all — are believed to take part in the business. Telnis Skuqi, a local coradvantage of a political respondent for the Albania power vacuum during the lice. Telegraphic News Agency, says three people driving a Ford cut the journalists off as they were driving away. “They warned that we would end up dead if we didn’t stop filming,” he says. Villagers have also taken random pot shots at passenger cars on the highway Lazarat overlooks in revenge for various police operations. When police shot a villager wanted for kidnapping in 2007, a mob attacked and burned the police station in Gjirokastra. An armored personal carrier now parked on the station’s lawn serves as a reminder. Thanks to the threat of major civilian casualties if police attempt to move into Lazarat, only political will can solve the problem, the police commissioner says. That, he elaborates, means “a decision from the prime minister’s office and nothing less.”
  18. 18. Non-Criminal Record Certificate Required For Beijing Employment License Applications With the aim to strictly enforce the rules and regulations related to the examination and approval of employment licenses, foreigners who wish to work in Beijing are required to submit a non-criminal record certificate issued by their place of residence for the application of an employment license and expert work permit. According to the Beijing Human Resource and Social Security Bureau (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Bureau’), the new rule also applies to foreign employees transferring to Beijing from other locations in China. The non-criminal record certificate submitted to the Bureau shall be one of the following: A non-criminal record certificate issued by the public security authorities or judicial authorities in the applicant’s place of residence (with a translation provided by a professional translation company in Beijing); or A non-criminal record authenticated by a Chinese Consulate. However, the new rule does not apply to applicants holding Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macao passports, and submission of the non-criminal record certificate is only required in applications for employment licenses and expert work permits. As the time taken for issuing a non-criminal record certificate varies largely from country to country (from weeks to months), the new requirement will add to the time needed to prepare for the employment license application in Beijing. years. The research by the RAND Corporation was funded by BJA. The findings indicate that prison education programs are cost effective. A $1 investment in prison education translates into Therefore, foreign emreducing incarceration costs ployers are advised to plan by $4 to $5 during the first ahead and try to obtain three years post-release, such certificates prior to when those leaving prison beginning the application are most likely to return. process. However, there have been instances where U.S. Prison the validity of non-criminal Population record certificates only lasts for two months from Declined For the date of issuance, so foreign employers should con- Third tact their agent ahead of Consecutive time for detailed information to make sure their Year application and all supporting materials are submitted U.S. Prison Population within the required timeDeclined For Third Conframe. Beijing is not the secutive Year During 2012 first city in the country to implement such requireThe U.S. prison populaments, and other cities such tion declined 1.7 percent as Suzhou and Nanjing al- from 2011 to 2012, falling ready have similar rules in to an estimated 1,571,013 place. prisoners, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice StaHowever, as the country’s tistics. newest Exit-Entry Law does not explicitly require It was the third conseculocal governments to imtive year of a decline in the plement such requirements, number of state prisoners. it is not clear whether other large cities such as ShangNine states had a decrease hai, Shenzhen and Guang- of more than 1,000 prisonzhou will follow Beijing’s ers in 2012: California, lead and require the subTexas, North Carolina, Colmission of such certificates. orado, Arkansas, New York, Florida, Virginia and New Report On Maryland. Effects Of Prison Education A research report sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) finds that, on average, inmates who participated in correctional education programs had 43 percent lower odds of returning to prison than inmates who did not. For other situations such as renewing or amending About half of the approxiwork permits, or changing mately 700,000 individuals employers within Beijing who leave federal and state with a valid visa, such cerprisons each year will be tificates are not required. reincarcerated within three records of the Secretary of In addition, anyone caught State and/or Attorney General, etc. Historical newspashoplifting in the town is arrested instead of simply per accounts of the crime and conviction can also add being issued a citation. substance to your family history. This new proactive approach was chosen in reHundreds of thousands of sponse to a 55 percent inother criminal records are crease in the number of also waiting to be discovshoplifting cases in July ered in state and university alone. archives, county courts and The police force attributes other repositories. Your the increase in shoplifting ancestor may not have been to the large number of re- sent to San Quentin for murder, but you may be tailers in the area. surprised to find a newspaper account of his being Police also say that it is investigated for arson, or more effective to take a proactive approach to deal- being arrested for a minor ing with shoplifting rather misdemeanor such as vathan simply responding to grancy, petty larceny, gamshoplifting cases after they bling or even making moonshine. Turn to finding have taken place. aids for repositories such as the State Archives, the Library Using Genealogy Family Historylocal county Catalog or the Sources For historical society to learn what might be available for Background researching your own crimChecks inal ancestors. Most of us can't claim notorious criminals such as John Dillinger, Al Capone or Bonnie & Clyde in our family tree, but our ancestors may have been convicted and imprisoned for hundreds of lesser reasons just the same. State and federal penitentiaries and prisons, state archives and other repositories have put a wealth of records and databases online that may put you hot on your ancestor's trail. These online indices often include extra details from descriptions of the Small Town offense, to the inmate's Takes Unique place and year of birth. Mug shots, interviews and Approach To other interesting records Fighting may also be found in these databases of Historic U.S. Shoplifting Prison Records Online or Researching Criminal AnPolice in Rosenberg, Texcestors in Britain. as, are taking an unusual approach to addressing the While having these prison recent increase in shopliftand inmate databases availing in the town. able online is a great starting point, most of the recPart of that approach inords beg that you dig furvolves posting the names of ther -- into correctional recshoplifters on the police ords, court records, jail force's Facebook page. logs, Governor's papers, Miley Cyrus On Drugs: Weed, Molly Are The Bomb, Coke Not So Much Miley likes molly, Miley likes weed, Miley doesn't like cocaine. That's pretty much what you need to know if you're in the mood to procure drugs for Miss Miley Cyrus. The 20-year-old wild child shared this info with Rolling Stone for its current issue, and her opinions on marijuana might spark a few memories of her sparking up a bong hit of "salvia" back in 2010. "I think weed is the best drug on earth," she told the mag. "One time I smoked a joint with peyote in it, and I saw a wolf howling at the moon. Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And molly, too."
  19. 19. Mexico Drug Lord Holds Sway Over Chicago Crime Rate The two Mexican couriers were hauling a tractortrailer full of cash: $3 million collected for drugs sold on the streets of Chicago. Juan Gonzalez and David Zuniga were driving their rig throughIndiana in October 2011, transporting the money to Mexico. As they stopped to fix a flat tire, three members of the Gangster Disciples, Chicago’s biggest street gang, held them up at gunpoint. The gang had bought the drugs -- and now these members wanted the money back. They pistolwhipped and handcuffed Zuniga. As the gangsters were hooking their own purple Kenworth cab to the money-laden trailer, Gonzalez fled through a cornfield and called the police. After a 15-mile chase north along Interstate 65, lawmen intercepted the rogue truck, arrested the gang members and recovered the loo Gonzalez, who worked for Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, made a surprising request that fall day: He wanted proof for cartel leaders that police had confiscated the $3 million. “He knew, without a receipt, they’d kill him or his family in Mexico,” says Jack Riley, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a five-state region that includes Illinois and Indiana. Such is the fear that Guzman inspires on both sides of the border. Operating from heavily guarded compounds in the Sierra Madre of northern Mexico, Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel supplies 80 percent of the heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine -- with a street value of $3 billion -that floods the Chicago region each year, the DEA says. Job seekers in Guzman’s 150,000-strong enterprise must list where their relatives live. Get Shorty As far as the authorities can tell, 5-foot-6-inch (1.68 -meter) Guzman, a grade school dropout known as El Chapo (or Shorty), has never set foot in Chicago. Yet during the past seven years, Guzman, who’s now in his late 50s, has seized control of the supply and wholesale distribution of drugs in Chicago and much of the Midwest. This steady flow of dangerous substances is sparking pitched and often deadly turf wars between Chicago’s splintered, largely African-American and Latino gangs. “Most of Chicago’s violent crime comes from gangs trying to maintain control of drug-selling territories,” Riley says. “Guzman supplies a majority of the narcotics that fuel this violence.” Confounding Police The Department of Justice indicted Guzman in absentia in Chicago in August 2009, charging him with conspiring to transport drugs across international borders. He has so far confounded all efforts by Mexican and U.S. authorities to put him and his cartel out of business. Two years after officers thwarted the Indiana hijacking, police still intercept drugs or cash heading in or out of Chicago every couple of weeks. That pales in comparison to what they miss. “We’re lucky to stop a 10th of what’s going through,” says Terry Risner, sheriff of Jasper County, Indiana, 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of the city. The pipeline of Sinaloa drugs to Chicago runs through the predominantly Mexican neighborhood known as Little Village on the city’s southwest side, authorities say. Yet four years after federal prosecutors indicted twins Margarito and Pedro Flores for being key Guzman distributors in Little Village, police don’t know who has succeeded them. ‘Home Port’ The drugs continue to pour in. In a 2006 conversation monitored by Mexican police, Guzman said he wanted to make America’s third-largest city his “home port.” He’s done that, says Art Bilek, a retired detective who’s executive vice president of the Chicago Crime Commission, a publicsafety group that in February named Guzman the city’spublic enemy No. 1. “We had freelance distributors in Chicago before,” Bilek says. “Guzman has taken them over one by one. He centralized everything -- the shipping, warehousing and distribution of drugs, and the collection and transport of money back to Mexico.” Chicago had cartel drugs in the past but not cartel leaders, Bilek says. “Now, Guzman has top people in here to make sure things run smoothly,” he says. The link between drugs and crime, including violent crime, would be hard to overstate in Chicago. Eighty-six percent of adult males arrested in Chicago last year tested positive for drug use. Chicago, with a population of 2.7 million, had 506 murders in 2012, the highest per capita among the four most populous U.S. cities. ‘Heroin Epidemic’ So pervasive is narcotics commerce along the Eisenhower Expressway, the city’s main east-west artery, that federal authorities have nicknamed it the Heroin Highway. The expressway leads to suburban DuPage County, where State’s Attorney Robert Berlin recently declared a “heroin epidemic.” Since the start of 2012, an average of one heroin user has died every eight-and-ahalf days in the county, Berlin says, many of them in their teens and twenties and snorting Sinaloa’s product. As the setting sun casts long shadows on a hot Fri- day in June, young men in low-riding jeans cluster on porches and around liquor stores near Pulaski Road and Van Buren Street, ready to do business. Keeping an eye out for police, the men lean into car windows, quickly consummating their transactions. Gang members pay for their turf with blood. Harold “Noonie” Ward, a leader in the Gangster Disciples before going to jail in 1994 for selling drugs, links the persistence of street violence to Guzman’s stranglehold over supply. Ward says Chicago gangs were once able to pick among several Latin American vendors. Supplier’s Power With Guzman gaining near-monopoly control, they can’t negotiate prices: He personally dictates how much distributors pay his operatives, court documents allege. In the past decade, wholesale heroin prices have doubled in Chicago to the current cost of $80,000 a kilogram, says Nick Roti, head of antigang enforcement for the city’s police. For street sellers to keep profits flowing, they must seize ground in sometimes lethal blockby-block combat. “The supplier has all the power now; he can set prices,” says Ward, 51, who’s chief executive officer of Block 8 Productions LLC, a record and film company. “It used to be honor among thieves,” he says of gang protocol that punished renegade behavior like the hijacking in Indiana. “Now, it’s by any means necessary.” Memorials that have sprung up south and west of downtown reflect a grim statistic: The city suffers an average of more than five shootings and more than one murder every day. Two Chicagos The crimes tell a tale of two Chicagos. The number of murders in the city is half what it was during the crack epidemic of the early 1990s. Yet on portions of the South and West sides, killings are actually more common today, according to research done by Daniel Hertz, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. On the north side, with its parks and high-rise residences abutting Lake Michigan, murders have declined so much that the area now rivals Toronto as an oasis of urban safety, he says. “Over the last twenty years, at the same time as overall crime has declined, the inequality of violence in Chicago has skyrocketed,” Hertz wrote. The city prepared for another potential bout of bloodshed when schools reopened in late August: After Mayor Rahm Emanuel permanently closed 47 elementary schools in June, mostly in the murderplagued south and west, the city agreed to hire 600 monitors to escort children through gang boundaries to their new classrooms. Three days into the academic year, dismissal at one elementary had to be delayed because an 18-year -old woman was shot a few blocks from the school. Obama Link Across the street from the community center in Altgeld Gardens, a housing project on the far South Side where President Barack Obama once worked as an organizer, names of gunshot victims line a yellow-brick hallway. In the South Shore neighborhood, a deflated heartshaped balloon droops above candles, teddy bears and two white crosses. Police say the victim, 24-yearold Jordan Jefferson, was a Black P. Stone gang member who was on parole for a narcotics violation when he was gunned down on June 30. A note written on the wall behind the makeshift shrine reads: “Love you always. RIP. Your Mom.”
  20. 20. Mexico Drug Lord Holds Sway Over Chicago, Crime Rate, continued from preceding page Losing Children Eight people were killed during the Labor Day weekend. Four days around the Fourth of July holiday were even bloodier: 47 shootings left 11 people dead, according to the Chicago police. Two boys ran up behind 14-year-old Damani Henard and shot him in the head as he rode the bike he’d received for eighth-grade graduation home from playing video games. Factions of the Four Corner Hustlers are battling over the neighborhood, and Damani was an unintended victim, police say. “The streets of Chicago belong to gangbangers,” says Damani’s mother, Yolanda Paige, who, on the day Damani was killed, had made him tacos before leaving for a 16-hour day working two jobs as a nursing assistant. “We’re losing our children,” she says. Guzman grabbed control of Chicago partly by exploiting the disarray among its gangs. From the 1970s into the 2000s, organized megagangs divvied up drugselling territories from public-housing towers, says Jody Weis, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Chicago Police Department superintendent from 2008 to 2011. The city razed the housing projects just as federal prosecutors were using new racketeering laws to convict and incarcerate gang leaders. “The biggest driver of violence in Chicago -- and where it’s becoming difficult to address -- is the factionalizing or breaking down of the bigger gangs into these smaller cliques,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says. Guzman stepped into the vacuum in Chicago by first winning a key stronghold in Mexico: the transshipment border town of Ciudad Juarez. He was born 300 miles south in the mountain village of La Tuna de Badiraguato, according to Malcolm Beith’s “The Last Narco: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo.” Relatives sponsored his rise in the drug trade, the book says. Guzman set his sights on Juarez, a sprawling city of 1.5 million, when cartel leader Amado Carrillo Fuentes died during plastic surgery in 1997. Severed Limbs Incarcerated in a Jalisco, Mexico, prison on murder and drug-trafficking convictions, Guzman escaped in a laundry cart in 2001 and unleashed a spree of assassinations starting seven years later, police say. By 2012, he’d won much of Juarez and the route through El Paso,Texas, and highways north. A 26-year-old member of the rival Aztec gang recounts those deadly days. Sitting in a sweltering room on a west Juarez street where a table fan strapped to a wooden beam provides no respite from the suffocating heat, the man runs his forefinger under his chin to show how he slit throats. He recalls how hard it was to sever the arms and legs Warring Factions of one of his victims with a Rudderless, Chicago’s hacksaw because bones are more than 70,000 gang so strong. In all, more than members split into an in10,000 people died in the creasing number of warring mayhem that cemented factions. When police Guzman’s grip on the Juasearched for the reason rez crossing. murders were on a pace to climb past 500 last year, Mexican Mud they identified about 625 Today, Sinaloa hit men gang offshoots, including and kidnappers called the 100 they hadn’t previously New People patrol the city, known about. says Alejandro Hope, a for- mer intelligence officer for Mexico’s government and now a security analyst at the Mexican Competitiveness Institute. The New People and allied gangs lure recruits -- and gain information -- with gifts, says the gang member, whose waist swims in his baggy jeans. “They know all of our movements because they’re our friends,” he says, asking not to be identified because he feared reprisals. Chicago’s connection to Mexican drugs goes back decades. Local MexicanAmericans sold brown heroin called Mexican mud in the 1970s, says Luis Astorga, a sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Guzman inherited and improved that network along with channels that Ward, the former Gangster Disciple, says he set up in the early 1990s in Detroit, Minneapolis and elsewhere. ‘Logistical Genius’ Law enforcement officials say Guzman chose Chicago for the same reasons Sears, Roebuck & Co. once centered catalog sales in the city: It’s a transportation hub where highways and rail lines converge and then fan across the Midwest. The disappearance of factory jobs and the struggle of public schools on the city’s South and West sides also give Guzman tens of thousands of willing salesmen who are jobless and poorly educated. In 2009, a Guzman distributor ran 11 warehouses and stash houses in Chicago and southwestern suburbs. One was in Bedford Park, steps from a facility used by FedEx Corp., operator of the world’s largest cargo airline. “He’s a logistical genius and a hands-on guy,” Riley says, adding that Guzman is also a billion- aire. “If he had turned his talents to legitimate business, he’d probably be in the same situation moneywise.” The Chicago police strategy of saturating high-crime areas with patrols appears to be cutting the homicide rate. Murders through Sept. 8 fell 21 percent -- to 297 from 377 -- from the 2012 period. Yet the authorities have made scant progress in cracking Sinaloa’s supply chain. retaliation -- so patrols can swarm the trouble spots. Cure Violence In the neighborhoods, a Chicago nonprofit called Cure Violence tries to reduce shootings by removing potential attackers and victims from the streets. Frankie Sanchez, a former gang member who works with the group, drove members of the Gangster Two Six Nation, one of Chicago’s biggest Latino gangs, to a Wisconsin lake after several shootings in June. After another, he hustled them to the city’s Grant Park. The tactic worked: Nobody else got shot, at least not in the critical period immediately following the crimes. In addition to destroying lives, the violence is bad for business, says Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president. “It’s terrible for our region because it makes it seem like this is an unsafe place to live and work,” she says. While the city’s tourism numbers have held up so far, Moody’s Investors Service in July cited crime when it reduced Chicago’s general-obligation debt rating by three grades -- a magnitude unprecedented for a major U.S. city, according to data since 1990. “The city’s budgetary flexibility is already burdened by high fixed costs, including unrelenting public safety demands,” analysts wrote. More Arrests? In January, 70 investigators led by the DEA set up what they call the Chicago Strike Force in a three-story building. One investigation spurred the indictment and arrest of 21 defendants in June for distributing heroin and cocaine in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Riley expects more arrests, though the narcotics keep flowing. “The rivers of drugs coming into Chicago are diverse and sufficient to meet demand,” says John Hagedorn, a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “This is not a war you can win.” Civic leaders and police vowing to reduce the gunfire have homed in on gang -against-gang retribution. On the fifth floor of their South Side headquarters, police use facialrecognition software to scan images from 24,000 city surveillance cameras. Within minutes of a shooting, they send e-mails and texts about gang affiliations -- and potential locales for See next page
  21. 21. cause we have the right connection.” The top-ranked Sinaloa operatives in Little Village are continued from preceding obsessed with secrecy, page criminologist Hagedorn says. They deal whenever ‘Evil Mexicans’ Skeptics in Mexico say possible with family memU.S. authorities are defend- bers and have no interest in ing their own interests by leading a Chicago gang. exaggerating Guzman’s “Why would you want that impact. hassle when you’re busy “It’s easier to sell the need making money?” he asks. for a bump in your budget if you speak about evil Snortable Heroin Mexicans than if you preLittle Village police comsent a complex web of mander Maria Pena undergangs,” says Hope, the stands how gangs operate Mexican Competitiveness after growing up in nearby Institute analyst. Logan Square. In Chicago, the DEA-led “In my district, Latinos are strike force concentrates its more territorial than gangs anti-Guzman efforts in Lit- in other parts of the city,” tle Village, where immisays Pena, a 25-year vetergrants have congregated for an who once walked a beat. a century. “They won’t allow opposiOn a sunny June afternoon, tion gangs to come through. traffic snarls on 26th Street They only sell drugs to as diners enjoy tortillas and known individuals.” roast pork at $25 for four A few blocks north of Little people. The Two-Six gang Village, black gangs peddle takes its name from this Sinaloa drugs near the Eithoroughfare, which is senhower Expressway, the lined with currency exHeroin Highway. Riley changes for buying identifi- says Guzman keeps the cation cards and wiring price of cocaine artificially cash back to Mexico. high to push a more profitaThe DEA is zeroing in on ble and easily transportable so-called choke points in product his chemists reLittle Village where drugs fined -- a snortable heroin change hands between dis- that lures suburbanites tributors and street gangs. wary of needles. “The middlemen tend to be “They think if they snort or Mexican gang members smoke it, they won’t end up from the Latin Kings, Two- injecting,” says R. Gil KerSix and Maniac Latin Dis- likowske, director of the ciples,” says Roti of the Office of National Drug Chicago police. “From Control Policy. “Very there, it flows to Africanquickly, they do.” American gangs, who control the street.” Flores Twins The Flores twins in Little Village were the corner‘Right Connection’ stones of Guzman’s U.S. Luis Lopez says he’s proud to be a Two-Six business from 2005 to member. Since grade 2008, federal court documents allege. They took school, he says, he never wanted to do anything but delivery of 2,000 kilograms join members of his extend- (4,400 pounds) of cocaine a ed family in the gang. From month from Sinaloa and associated cartels, plus herthe sidelines of a softball oin, the documents say. game in July, Lopez, 18, describes the links between Their trafficking apLittle Village and Mexican proached $700 million in 2008. smuggling. The twins used local ware“Since we’re Latino, we know more people who are houses to break down loads tied to the cartel,” he says. from Mexico for retail dis“The black guys, they need tribution around Chicago and shipment as far away us for drugs and guns be- Mexico Drug Lord Holds Sway Over Chicago, Crime Rate, as Vancouver. They encoded ledgers to track cash sent to Mexico for drugs purchased on credit and to note which couriers handled each step of the process. The system ran smoothly until early 2008. Guzman began a war with boyhood friend Arturo Beltran Leyva over, among other things, the loyalty of the Flores brothers, according to federal court documents. As the Guzman-Beltran Leyva battle claimed hundreds of lives in Mexico, the twins offered during the summer of 2008 to help the DEA investigate Guzman, Patrick Fitzgerald, thenU.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in court documents. The twins recorded their phone calls with Guzman and their visits to his mountain stronghold. In an October 2008 meeting that included Margarito Flores, Guzman and subordinates complained that Mexican authorities had ceded power to the U.S. in the war on drugs. has family ties to Sinaloa in Mexico. They charged Guevara, 31, with conspiracy to supply heroin after discovering a secret compartment under the floor of a house in suburban Forest Park, Illinois, court records allege. Grandma’s House The building had been owned by an 86-year-old woman who died five years earlier. Guevara, who lived nearby, appropriated the vacant home to stash money and drugs. He was arrested in 2010 with 7.7 kilograms of heroin stuffed in a drive shaft he was transporting in his Jeep, theJustice Department says. He pleaded guilty and began a 30-year jail sentence in January. Sinaloa leaders orchestrate punishments from afar. In 2011, they sent a list of targets to a clan of Chicago roofers who served as cartel enforcers by night, says John Blair, intelligence director for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. The dossier contained names of people Guzman’s cartel believed had robbed it in Setting Prices “They are f---ing us eve- Mexico. Blair suspects roofer Arturo rywhere,” he said. In a taped phone call in Novem- Ibarra was among Guzber 2008, he approved Ped- man’s U.S. hit men. Police ro Flores’s request for a 9 shot and killed Ibarra as he percent drop in the charge fled from a north side neighborhood just as two for Chicago heroin -- to $50,000 a kilogram -- cit- men named in the dossier lay bleeding to death from ing poor quality. “That price is fine,” Guzman said. The Flores twins also taped Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, son of Ismael Zambada, who court documents identify as a principal Sinaloa leader along with Guzman. Mexican soldiers arrested the younger Zambada in March 2009. He was extradited to Chicago, where he’s awaiting trial on drug-trafficking-conspiracy charges. He pleaded not guilty on all counts. Charges against the Flores twins are still pending. Police deconstructed a further piece of Guzman’s Chicago network with the August 2010 arrest of Erik Guevara, whom they say stab wounds. ‘Unlimited Resources’ The Gangster Disciples who tried to hijack Guzman’s cash in 2011 have avoided Sinaloa reprisals so far, says Jasper County prosecutor Kathryn O’Neall. An Indiana judge sentenced the trio on May 28 to three years in prison for money laundering. Gonzalez and Zuniga, who cooperated with authorities, weren’t charged. Guzman’s grip on the U.S. Midwest may actually be strengthened by a move Mexican authorities hailed as a victory in their war on trafficking. In July, they arrested Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, head of the Zetas cartel, which Sinaloa has been battling over a route throughNuevo Laredo on the U.S. border. “Trevino’s arrest makes it easier for Sinaloa to conquer territory,” says Jorge Chabat, a security analyst at the Mexico City-based Center for Economic Research and Teaching. The reach of Sinaloa and its elusive leader extends from the rugged Sierra Madre to the dusty streets of Juarez to Chicago and beyond. “They’re the pre-eminent organized crime group in the world today,” the Chicago Police Department’s Roti says. “They have almost unlimited resources.”
  22. 22. Consensual Sex With Minor Not A Crime, Delhi Court Says own will, accompanied him Ireland and obstacles should not be Open justice and access to put in their happy married court documents – a life. (lightly updated) footnote "As the evidence indicates, they got married volA city court has observed untarily with their free conthat consensual sex with a sent. Hence no case is made girl aged below 18 years out under section 363 (kidnapping) and 366 does not constitute an offence under the Protection (kidnapping or inducing woman to compel her marof Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. riage) of the IPC," the court said. The court said the provi"In my opinion, it would sions of POCSO Act suggest that where a physical neither serve the object of relationship — which is not present enactment (POCSO in the nature of an assault Act) nor the purpose of — takes place with the mi- criminal laws to hold the accused guilty on the nor girl's consent and where the consent has not ground that he had sexual been obtained unlawfully, intercourse with the girl no offence can be said to below 18 years," the judge have been committed. said, adding that it would not be good for the girl if Rejecting the plea of the her husband was sent to police and Delhi Commis- jail. The POCSO Act treats girls and boys below 18 sion for Women that POCSO Act prohibits mi- years of age as minors. nors from having any kind sexual relationship, addi"It is high time that state tional sessions judge authorities, its machinery, Dharmesh Sharma said, "I NGOs and women groups am afraid if that interpreta- made a determined and sustion is allowed, it would tained endeavour to reach mean that the human body out to all in schools, collegof every individual under es and residential places, 18 years is the property of thereby creating public the state and no individual awareness on various asbelow 18 years can be alpects of life in case of marlowed to have pleasures riage at a tender age... beassociated with one's sides creating awareness body." amongst adolescents and young adults about the seriASJ Sharma, however, ous psychological and urged state authorities to physical health issues that spread awareness related to such a relation entails," the unsafe sex or early marcourt observed. riage. "But there lies a greater responsibility on all According to the prosecuof us, the state including tion, a complaint was filed police in spreading and cre- before the police on March ating public awareness 5 by the minor girl's mother about the impact of girl or about her daughter going boy marrying at a tender missing since February 26. age or indulging in unsafe sexual activities," he said. The accused was arrested on March 6 and the girl was The court made these ob- also recovered from his servations while acquitting custody, it said. The girl, in a 22-year-old youth of her statement recorded becharges of kidnapping and fore a magistrate, said she raping a 15-year-old girl had willingly gone with the whom he later married. The accused to his native place youth, a native of West in Kolkata and they got Bengal, was acquitted of married in a temple there the charges as the court and since then they have held that the minor, on her been living together. Article 34.1 of the Constitution provides that “Justice … shall be administered in public“. By way of footnote to my earlier post on Open justice and access to court documents comes the decision of Hogan J in Allied Irish Bank plc v Tracey (No 2) [2013] IEHC 242 (21 March 2013). The applicant had been mentioned in affidavits filed by the defendant in the main action, and took this motion to have access to those affidavits. Hogan J held in his favour, and emphasised that he was entitled to the affidavits as of right and not necessarily on foot of an application to court: [ 21] In any event, I do not consider that the Court’s permission was required for this purpose. These allegations were ventilated in civil proceedings in open court and, as I have already found, the affidavits were effectively openly read into the record of the court. Given that these proceedings were in open court pursuant to the requirements of Article 34.1 of the Constitution, it follows that any cloak of confidentiality or protection from non-disclosure vanished at point. … [22] The open administra- tion of justice is, of course, a vital safeguard in any free and democratic society. It ensures that the judicial branch is subjected to scrutiny and examination and helps to promote confidence in the fair and even handed administration of justice. Any system of secret court hearings could pave the way for judicial arrogance, overbearing judicial conduct and abuse. ing section 46(1)(a)(I) of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (also here) (section 46 was amended by section 29 of the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act, 2003 (also here), but not in any way that affected that decision). Moreover, Hogan J’s dismissal of “secret court hearings” calls our current system of closed refugee tribunals into question. [23] In these circumstances the public are entitled to have access to documents which were accordingly opened without restriction in open court. This is simply part and parcel of the open administration of justice which the Constitution (subject to exceptions) enjoins. … The public’s right of access to court documents is a very important aspect of the open administration of justice, but it has not heretofore been much exercised in Ireland. It is expected that the next draft of the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 will provide some practical guidance on how this very important right can be exercised. For example, it should clear up whether the public can exercise this right vis-à-vis the relevant court office (in principle, in my view, the answer to that question should be yes; though, at present, there would seem to be no such practice). Moreover, whilst the judgment itself only expressly covers documents fully opened in open court, the legislation could clarify the extent to which the public can have access to documents filed for the purposes of litigation but not opened in court. This is an extraordinarily significant decision, placing on a constitutional footing what the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Guardian News and Media Ltd) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2012] EWCA Civ 420 (03 April 2012) recognised as a fundamental principle of the Common law, and expanding what is at present available pursuant to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform v Information Commissioner [2001] 3 IR 43, [2002] 2 ILRM 1, [2001] IEHC 35 (14 March 2001) interpret-