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The Background Investigator


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December 2012 edition

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The Background Investigator

  1. 1. Volume 12 Numbe12 December 2012 All Because of ‘Arnold’California MarijuanaDecriminalization Drops YouthCrime Rate To Record Low Between 2010 and 2011, California experi-enced a drastic 20 percent decrease in juve-nile crime--bringing the underage crime rateto the lowest level since the state startedkeeping records in 1954. According to a recently released study,much of that improvement can be credited tothe decriminalization of marijuana.The research not only found juvenile crimeto be at its lowest level ever but, in the wakeof then-Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggersigning a bill reducing the punishment forpossessing a small amount of marijuana froma misdemeanor to simply an infraction, thedrop in rates was particularity significant. This story continues on Page 7 Chicago, IL Courthouse Photograph by Steven Brownstein PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 164 MORTONGROVE, IL Read Who’s To Blame Page 7
  2. 2. D.C. Federal court had the smallest aver- would be a useful measur- different courts. age criminal caseload of ing tool because most crim- "In other courts, most ofCourt Has any federal court nation- inal cases in the federal those cases are one-hour Lamberth noted that theSmallest Average wide during that time. courts end in a guilty plea guilty pleas. If thats the study didnt include the or conviction. case, compared to Roger large number of cases theCriminal Case- The Transactional Rec- Clemens or large cases we D.C. court has handled re-load, Survey ords Access Clearinghouse, But U.S. District Chief have here that go on for lated to detainees at the or TRAC, released the re- Judge Royce Lamberth of weeks, I dont think its Guantanamo Bay detentionFinds sults of a new analysis of the D.C.-based court said helpful for understanding center. Those cases, which sentencing data from the he didnt think the study the process," he said, refer- are mostly habeas petitions Between October 2006 federal courts. TRAC, was a helpful way to gauge ring to the years-long pro- filed by detainees, arentand July of this year, judges which is based at Syracuse criminal caseloads and ju- ceedings against Clemens, considered criminal cases,in the U.S. District Court University, measured crim- dicial workloads, since it the former professional he said, but they hadfor the District of Columbia inal caseloads by the num- put all criminal cases on an baseball player who was "swamped" the court.on average sentenced 147 ber of defendants sentenced even playing field, regard- ultimately acquitted ofdefendants in criminal cas- per judge; TRAC Co- less of their complexity or charges of lying to Con- Besides comparing case-es. According to a new Director Susan Long said how long they took to re- gress. loads at different courts, thestudy, the citys federal they thought sentencings solve. TRAC study explored the Courthouses in states differences in caseloads along the U.S.-Mexico bor- among judges serving in der had the largest average the same court. Although caseloads, according to the caseloads varied widely TRAC study. In the Las among judges in some Cruces, N.M., courthouse, courts, including the Los the one active judge studied Angeles courthouse of the there handled 7,020 sen- Central District of Califor- tencings alone, the most of nia and the Beaumont, Tex- any other courts average as courthouse of the East- caseload. According to ern District of Texas, case- TRAC, sentencings have loads in the Washington been higher in the South- federal courthouse were west because of the federal fairly consistent. governments increased ef- forts to prosecute immigra- tion-related matters. Long said that while dif- ferent cases might have dif- ferent lengths, the length of the study period – more than five years – was enough to take into account the varying lengths of cases and provide an accurate sense of the criminal case- load in any given court. She said that a previous study looking at the total number of defendants yielded simi- lar results as far as showing varying caseloads between Meet Steven Brownstein On LinkedIn PUBLISHER Steven Brownstein CONTRIBUTORS: Mike Sankey, Les Rosen, Dennis Brownstein, Derek Hinton COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Chicago, Illinois USA Court COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Steven Brownstein PURPOSE: “Dedicated to pre-employment screenings everywhere” The Background Investigator is published by Steven Brownstein, LLC, PMB 1007, Box 10001, Saipan, MP 96950. Phone: 670-256-7000. Copyright 2012 by Steven Brownstein. Some material in this publication must not be repro- duced by any method without the written permission of the copyright holder.
  3. 3. Even The FedsMake MoneyOff CriminalRecords The federal governmenthas collected millions fromthe online Public Access toCourt Electronic Recordssystem, or PACER – nearlyfive times what it cost torun the system. Between fiscal years 2006and 2010, the government services.” But lawmakers Wayne County able via the Internet.collected an average of $77 on the House Appropria- In recent years, U.S. Sen.million a year from PAC- Circuit Court tions Committee have al- Joe Lieberman of Connecti- This is much easier thanER fees, according to the lowed the courts to invest cut and the American Asso- Records Now calling or visiting a kioskmost recent federal figures in a wider range of infor- ciation of Law Libraries, downtown for basic infor-available. Online mation technology projects which represents 5,000 law mation about a case. using fees collected from librarians nationwide, have Critics have derided PAC- PACER. Fees for online tried without success to Check it out: https://ER, saying the government access have risen from 7 persuade the Administra- cmspublic.3rdcc.orghas increased user fees over cents to 10 cents per page. tive Office of the U.S.the years without making Courts and members ofthe system easier to use. “Given the lack of over- Congress to provide free Wayne Countys 3rd Circuit Better Than TheThe fees, some say, act as a sight for what the fees are access to PACER records. Court has had a technologi- Policedeterrent to public access. being used for, the incen- cal breakthrough. -/-/-/-/-/- tive for the courts is to raise Straightline The Judiciary Appropria- International’s fees,” said Stephen Court records, at least cer-tions Act of 1992 limited Puerto Rico search Schultze, associate director tain details about cases —the use of PACER fees to will get you the hits of Princeton University’s mostly scheduling, charges,“reimburse expenses in- the police and courts Center for Information party information andcurred in providing these miss. Technology Policy. pleadings — are now avail-
  4. 4. Thousands Of A majority of these rings rings also form ID fraud are what the firm calls rings, the most surprisingID Scammers "Friends & Family" groups, result of this research wasReside In USA not professional criminal the prevalence of what he organizations, the report called "Friends and Fami- concludes. The rings are ly" fraud rings. More than There are 10,000 active most highly concentrated in half of the rings includeidentity theft crime rings Washington D.C.; Detroit; multiple family members.across the United States, Tampa, Fla.; Greenville,with the greatest concentra- Miss., Macon, Georgia; and "This is a strong indica-tion in a "ring of fraud" that Montgomery, Ala., the re- tion that more than half arestretches across the South- port found. not what we’d think of aseast from Virginia to Mis- professional groups," sayssissippi, according to a new While traditional orga- head researcher Stephenreport by fraud-fighting nized crime and drug crime Coggeshall. "(It’s) a familyfirm ID Analytics. or an innocuous neighbor committing fraud.” Continuing he added, “"It appears that the children in these groups are (even) stealing their own parents’ identities." POINT TO POINT SERVICE XR2 Criminal Search PUERTO RICO The ‘XR2’ Puerto Rico search is yourinsurance that you are getting the best possible re-sults. It is proven that police searches in Puerto Ricocan contain more than 50% more missed hits thanthe XR2. The XR2 signifies a new plateau of search resultsnever before heard of. And no one else but Straightline offers the XR2. oranything similar. Shouldn’t you be offering your clients the best? Call 1-866-909-6678 Or Fax 1-866-909-6679 Alberta Nova Scotia Straightline International 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.AlabamaEffective October 1, 2012, Chief Justice Chuck Malone entered an Order mandating that all attorneys must e-file their documents in civil, do-mestic relations, and child support cases. Per this Order and the Administrative Procedures, the Circuit Clerks offices will eventually go com-pletely paperless in civil cases.See month Eagle County is in the process of moving to a new software provider for searching recorded documents. The site has new optionsavailable, see counties continue to close court sites or cut back on operations. The Kings County Superior Court location in Lemoore was closedlast month. Also all Kings County court location hours have been permanently cut back. All clerks windows are now open 8AM-4PM Mondaythru Thursday and 8AM-Noon on Friday. In addition the Court intends to close locations in Avenal and Corcoran and reduce hours and staff atHanford over the Christmas week.As many other CA counties have already done, effective November 5, 2012 the San Diego Superior Court will only provide court reporters incriminal felony, family, and juvenile matters during regular court hours. Official court reporters will not be available in probate or other civilmatters. Also, effective December 28, 2012, official court reporters will only be available in family matters for Domestic Violence RestrainingOrder hearings, Contempt hearings, and Request for Order hearings of 40 minutes or less.OregonOJIN is the acronym for the online program provides court case information from Circuit Courts in all 36 counties in the state. The Oregon Judi-cial Department OJD is working to migrate the online platform from OJIN to a designated vendor (Odyssey). The purpose is to create a moremodern, user-friendly environment for record access, compared to the OJIN command line based system.South DakotaThe South Dakota Unified Judicial System (UJS) recently changed the county serving as the centralized mail request center for statewide crimi-nal record searches. The UJS asks that all mail requests be directed to the processing We welcome your comments and observations about The Public Record Update Please address your comments to Michael Sankey at mike@brbpublications.comcenter at: Jackson County Clerk of Court, PO Box 128, Kadoka, SD 57543. 605- 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 - 480-829-7475837-2122, fax 605-837-2120. Note the UJS will periodically change the designated Public Record Retriever Network - The CRA Help Desk - www.CRAHelpDesk.comcounty to operate the processing center. Be sure to call first. BRBs Free Public Record Resource Center - Motor Vehicle Record Decoder - BRBs Public Record Blog - BRBs Bookstore - BRBs Public Record Blog -
  6. 6. firm provided inaccurate that the information is only gal and financial nightmare her air ducts six months Les Rosen’s reports by providing a pro- disseminated to an employ- of a bad hire. The solution earlier. Both employees had Corner spective employer with in- er that purchases the ser- is a background check pro- criminal backgrounds and formation on past arrests vices. After a lengthy re- gram done in full legal one was a twice convictedA monthly column that were dismissed and view of the arguments and compliance. sexual offender on parole; By Lester Rosen, were older than seven an analysis of the applica- however the company that Attorney at Law years, which is prohibited ble law, the court conclud- hired them did not conduct by FCRA section 605 ed that the FCRA was con- A Nice Letter any criminal record check (U.S.C 1681c). That law stitutional. prior to hiring them. This prohibits a background About Us tragedy inspired the vic- firm, known as a Consumer The Court also noted that by Jayme Klauser tim’s sister to start the Sue Reporting Agency (CRA) "...the federal government Weaver CAUSE — Con- During my employment from providing arrests rec- enacted section 1681c of sumer Awareness of Un- and as manager of a small ords to employers that are the FCRA to provide busi- safe Service Employment human resource company, more than seven years old. nesses with the most accu- — to educate people on the we have performed and au- There is an exception, how- rate and relevant infor- necessity of criminal back- thorized background ever, if the annual salary is mation while simultaneous- ground checks on workers screenings for years. In expected to be $75,000 or ly protecting the privacy entering homes. The web- several instances we have more a year. . right of consumers. More site is received potentially nega- important, section 1681cs tive information on an ap- A large background In this case, the lead plain- speech restriction is appro- plicant for employment thatscreening firm facing a tiff in the class action law- priately justified." As a member of the Na- would adversely affect theirclass action lawsuit alleg- suit alleged that the CRA tional Association of Pro- chances of gaining employ-ing inaccurate reports in reported ten cases older The ruling had the effect fessional Background ment. At those times, weviolation of the federal Fair than seven years where she of denying the background Screeners, we comply with conducted additional in-Credit Reporting Act was arrested but no prose- firms effort to have the Federal Trade Commission quiries of both the employ-(FCRA) failed in its at- cutions occurred. It appears case dismissed. requirements and promote ee and the reporting agen-tempt to have the FCRA that the parties agreed with the importance of back- cy. We have called court-declared unconstitutional the fact that the arrests too (NOTE: The case is from ground screening. houses where the chargeson the basis that it violates old to report under the the U.S. District Court for originated to prove or dis-the right to free speech un- FCRA. However, the CRA the Eastern District of We encourage all busi- prove the information on ader the First Amendment. argued that the FCRA itself Pennsylvania, No. 10-6850, nesses to know who they report. Our clients realizeA Pennsylvania federal was unconstitutional since and filed 11/06/12). It is are hiring and protect their the importance of checkingcourt ruled on November 6, it violated the CRAs right this authors policy not to workplace and the safety of the people that work for2012 that the FCRA was to free speech. identify firms where a mat- their employees and cus- them and we do all we canconstitutional since it regu- ter is only in the pre-trial tomers, especially our chil- to protect the integrity oflated information dissemi- The CRA contended that a state since the complaints dren their workplace while re-nated for private purposes 2011 U.S. Supreme Court are just allegations.) specting an individual ap-for a fee, and not to the case on commercial speech plicant from unfair deci-public. More information marked a major change in Regardless of the eventual NO DELAYS sions based on incorrectabout the ruling is available the protections provided to outcome of the lawsuit, the information. Not a Policeat http:// commercial speech and re- case demonstrates yet quired a court to apply a that background checks are Data Base Search One specific example of Canadadocuments/ stricter standard of review. subject to ever increasing the failure to do back-opinions/12D1046P.pdf. The plaintiff, as well as the levels of litigation, legisla- Provincial Courts ground checks in a Florida Criminal Research federal government which tion, and regulation. On the business resulted in a Call 1-866-909-6678 The FCRA is the federal entered the case, argued other hand, failure to per- homeowner’s murder. She Or Fax 1-866-909-6679law that regulates back- that a background report is form background checks Straightline International was tragically killed byground checks. The lawsuit not protected since it deals will almost certainly sub- Shortest distance between you and the courts workers who had cleanedalleges that the screening with private matters, and ject an employer to the le-
  7. 7. Government At California Youth state over the past eight fewer arrests for marijuana ly (such as changes in the decades. possession. In 2010, mari- way the statistics are gath-Fault For Many Crime Rate juana possession accounted ered, demographic changes,Criminal Record Drops To Record In that one-year period for 64 percent of all drug harsher sentences acting as (2010-2011), the number of arrests, and in 2011, that a deterrent and other cultur-Errors Low arrests for violent crimes number decreased to only al factors like family con-by Dick Baggett Continued from page 1 dropped by 16 percent, 46 percent. nections). They assert that homicide went down by 26 only two major factors ex- There are various reasons The study, entitled percent and drug arrests Californias drop in seri- plain the trend: the loosen-the Equal Employment Op- "California Youth Crime decreased by nearly 50 per- ous youth crime has de- ing of marijuana laws andportunity Commission de- Plunges to All-Time Low" cent. creased faster than in the improvements in the eco-cided to reissue guidance and released by the San rest of the nation. nomic well-being of Cali-on the use of criminal and Francisco-based Center on The category of drug ar- fornias youth.arrest records in hiring de- Juvenile and Criminal Jus- rests showed decreases in The studys authors dis-cisions, among them: tice, looked at the number every type of crime; how- count a host of explanations of people under the age of ever, the vast majority of as to why juvenile crime Only $5 Recent studies have found 18 who were arrested in the the drop resulted from far has dropped so precipitous-that a significant number ofstate and federal criminalrecord databases includeincomplete criminal rec-ords. A 2011 study by the De-partment of Justice reportedthat, as of 2010, many statecriminal history record re-positories still had not rec-orded the final dispositionsfor a significant number ofarrests. A 2006 study by the De-partment of Justice foundthat only 50 percent of ar-rest records in the FBIsdatabase were associatedwith a final disposition. Reports have documentedthat criminal records maybe inaccurate. Even if public access tocriminal records has beenrestricted by a court orderto seal and/or expunge suchrecords, this does not guar-antee that private compa-nies also will purge the in-formation from their sys-tems or that the event willbe erased from media ar-chives. Criminal backgroundchecks may produce inac-curate results because crim-inal records may lack"unique" information orbecause of "misspellings,clerical errors or intention-ally inaccurate identifica-tion information providedby search subjects whowish to avoid discovery oftheir prior criminal activi-ties."
  8. 8. Dennis’sExtreme Court His friend was charged with unlawful possession of 24 Tenn. courthouses re-News a knife. ceive bomb threats (11/27) but denied knowing anything about any burgla- The List Goes Bomb Threat Closes Sofias DOB? ry. Their presumption of Central Court Building How long innocence, however, literal- On… (11/27) does it take to ly went up in smoke when, find this most while being taken to the Brisbane court evacuated Bomb threat at Benton important bit of county jail, a video camera over bomb threat (11/15) County Justice Center a information? inside the patrol car record- hoax (11/16) ed them discussing the bur- Courthouse evacuated in Well do it... glary … while passing a Jackson after bomb threat joint back and forth! Yeah, (11/27) cuz, weed doesn’t emit a strong odor, you know? Cape courts hit by bomb threats (11/21) These two geniuses now  Voted #1 face charges of burglary, Warwickshire Justice Cen- From January 7th, 2013 through grand theft and marijuana tre evacuated (11/21) Jan 11th 2013* possession. New Clark County Courthouse *Requests must be received within these dates Column You Dont Have Evacuated Because Of Bomb Threat (11/15) To Be Irish ToAnd We Think Appreciate This All clear given at UnionThe Crooks Are Co. Courthouse after suspi- cious package ...(11/15)Stupid A man who got a friend to stab him in the leg in order New Orleans city prose- to avoid a court hearing hascutor Jason Cantrell was being given a suspendedforced to resign this week sentence of six months.after a reefer fell out of hispocket … in court…while James Ledden (32) washe was speaking to a police due to appear before a Dub-officer! Awkward. lin District Court on a pub- lic order offence when he Eyewitnesses said it was asked his friend in the pub-quite comical watching the lic smoking area of theofficer glance down at the Criminal Courts of Justicejoint, then at another of- to stab him.ficer, before chuckling andleading Cantrell out of the He was taken to Stcourtroom to write him up. Jamess Hospital where he reported the incident to Easiest. Drug bust. Ever. (police) and told them that he had been assaulted. Cantrell was cited and letgo, but later stepped down Ledden, of Ferrymansfrom his city post. Crossing, North Wall, Dub- lin 1, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit CriminalStupidity Must Court to making a false re-Grow On Trees port at the hospital on Janu- ary 13, 2011. The great thing about thiscountry’s legal system isthat everyone is innocentuntil proven guilty. TwoFlorida men were innocentuntil proven stupid! Vernon D. Jones, 21, andJacques Saintil, 19, of Na-ples, Florida, were pickedup on suspicion of burglary
  9. 9. the programming mistake.DeSoto-based Metroplex take the responsibility of MEXICOGlitch Has Document Retrieval, said cleaning it,” Morelock said.Limited Access Technical employees are most of the clutter is aban- Mexico CityTo Riverside, CA working to fix the problem doned office equipment She also said Warren has that has existed for a couple from title companies and never asked anyone who PUBLIC ACCESSCourt Records of months, Whaley said. abstractors who used to uses the room to clean it. ALL PUBLIC RECORDS Available only from work in the room. A stair- A programming glitch well between the workroom “Not once,” she said.when a new computer sys- Records and Warren’s office is sotem was installed in the cluttered with old office Morelock said the countyRiverside County Superior Retrievers Trash equipment, that people in has essentially ignored the room barely work.Court system mistakenly Dallas Room 333 can’t access the room and its upkeep. Shelabeled public records as stairs in the case of an said custodians empty the Courthouse “It’s a county building,confidential. emergency. trash but haven’t mopped it what right do I have to or cleaned it in five years. make any decisions about Civil temporary restrain- Dallas County Clerk John “So it’s just piled on and She said the heating and air the room?” she orders are public rec- Warren told the Dallas piled on and no one wants conditioning units in theords but have been off lim- County Commissioners toits to the public for severalCourt that abstractors whomonths because of an error have been using a Recordsin programming and a mis- Building room for decadesunderstanding by records have left the space in disar-department clerks, said Lori ray. He presented to com-Whaley, chief deputy of missioners pictures thatoperations for the county showed open records draw-court system. ers, microfilm cartridges strewn about cabinets and Civil restraining orders all sorts of old office equip-are not legally permitted ment stacked also stackedonline but are accessible in on top of cabinets. Histhe records department. But comments came duringthe system error made them tense interactions betweenconfidential at the court- county officials this morn-house, as well. Clerks also ing.there were under the im-pression that the records Misty Morelock, opera-were not public because of tions vice president of
  10. 10. Brits Can Have rimands and final warningscaution and the matter will The only way cautions can eliminate the need for mul- do form part of a personsbe closed, but if they refuse be deleted is by applying to tiple checking and anNo Conviction record, and are always dis- they will face prosecution. the chief constable of the online update service whichBut Criminal closed on both standard and force that handed it out. will make it easier for em- enhanced criminal record Cautions do not count as ployers to assess individu-Record Haunts checks, even though many convictions but they do re- CRB Changes als.Them For 100 people have been told oth-quire the perpetrator to ad- erwise. mit their guilt and details Other upcoming changesYears The Disclosure and Bar- are recorded on the Police to the current system of ring Service, a new organi- In total 2.8 million cau- National Computer. criminal record checks and zation formed from the Growing numbers of peo- tions, known as first-time barring include introducing merger of the Criminalple are being turned down reprimands and final warn- Until 2009 there was a a single criminal records Records Bureau and thefor jobs and university ings when given to under- system whereby they would certificate which will be Independent Safeguardingplaces because they accept- 18s, have been handed out be stepped down after a sent only to the applicant; Authority, has launched.ed police cautions for mi- in England and Wales over few years, but although this an independent right of re-nor offences without realis- the past decade. was removed it is widely view to allow individuals to The new Disclosure anding they would give them a believed that the penalties challenge information dis- Barring Service will makecriminal record. They are usually offered are wiped when teenagers closed about them before it it clearer and simpler for by police after they arrest turn 18. is given to their employer; those requiring criminal New figures show that someone for shoplifting, and reducing the number of records disclosures (CRB)cautions showed up on possession of small Now cautions remain on a positions requiring barring and barring checks for em-153,000 Criminal Records amounts of soft drugs and persons file until they turn checks from 9.3m to ployment purposes.Bureau checks carried out minor violent crimes. 100 and although they do around 5m.last year, allowing employ- not have to be disclosed The Disclosure Barringers to stop candidates work- Station officers tell of- when applying for jobs, Portable CRB checks are Service will oversee theing with children or in fenders they can either sign they show up on CRB due to launch in Spring introduction of portablehealth and social care. a statement to accept the checks. 2013. CRB checks which will Young people caughtshoplifting or taking part indrunken pranks are agree-ing to sign the statements inthe mistaken belief theywill be wiped from data-bases after a few years, notrealising that they remainon file until they turn 100. A lawyer has now set up abusiness to help people af-fected by vetting checksfind work or education, asthe problem is becoming socommon and overturningcautions is so difficult. David Wacks, the legaldirector of CRB ProblemsLtd, said: Minor incidentsor pranks which in the pastmay have merited a goodtalking to by a policemanoften end up in cautionswhich may ruin a personsjob prospects. Josie Appleton of theManifesto Club, a libertari-an group that is campaign-ing against out-of-courtpunishments, said: It isfundamentally unjust thatpeoples careers can beblighted by a reprimandthat hasnt been proven in acourt of law. Jackie Sinclair from thecrime reduction charityNacro, said: Cautions, rep-
  11. 11. TORONTODerek Hinton’s industry that is critical to dead horse or is in the pro- above, it contains 58 spe- the safety of our homes and cess of doing so. cific standards of compli-Column workplaces,” and “For our ance—many learned the part, NAPBS has developed a comprehensive individual But there are too many hard way. If you are not companies still trying other incorporating those stand- COURT certification program and a company based accredita- strategies like buying a stronger whip, changing ards, I would dismount that horse you’re attempting to RECORDS tion program with more riders, saying things like ride. “Straightline is your than 58 specific standards "This is the way we always direct source to of compliance to ensure our have ridden this horse,” Derek Hinton is President Ontario courts.” members provide the high- appointing a committee to of CRAzoom est level of performance.” study the horse, arranging ( a to visit other sites to see company providing com- Do you think if we had the how they ride dead horses, plete accreditation assis- budget and could go back changing the requirements tance to CRAs. to 2006 we could find a declaring that "This horse case of journalistic malfea- is not dead," harnessingNot Having sance surpassing this em- several dead horses togeth- ployment screening mis- er for increased speed, de-Procedures take? Of course. claring that "No horse isFor Maximum too dead to beat," providing Do you think we could additional funding to in-Possible find worse instances of the crease the horses perfor-Accuracy: legal profession harming mance, purchasing a prod- people? Of course. uct to make dead horses runRiding A Dead faster, declaring the horseHorse Have employment screen- is now "better, faster and ing firms provided a greater cheaper," revisiting the per- public net good than harm? formance requirements for Have you noticed the re- Not even close, of course. horses, saying “this horsecent action by the FTC was procured with cost asagainst a CRA? Are you With that said, if you are an independent variable,”aware of the legal actions in the background screen- etc. etc—they’re all equallyby plaintiff attorneys ing business and you have effective remedies for rid-against CRAs, especially in been putting off instituting, ing a dead horse.California? Did you happen documenting and monitor-to catch the NBC Today ing procedures dealing with They say an expert isShow on background consumer protection, legal someone who knows somescreening that aired No- and compliance, client edu- of the worst mistakes thatvember 9? cation, data and verification can be made in his subject standards and other busi- and how to avoid them. It’s not paranoia if people ness practices to ensureare really after you. maximum possible accura- The NAPBS Accreditation cy, you’re riding a dead standard is a cheat sheet The recent NBC Today horse. from experts that will helpShow went back to 2006 you avoid the mistakes con-and found a lady that had a The majority of the indus- sistent with attempting tocriminal record run on her try has dismounted that ride a dead horse. As notedand the record actually per-tained to a different ladywith the same name. (Asthey say down here in Ok-lahoma, it was a startle’nex-po-say. ). And, to makethe industry look really sil-ly, they had pictures of thetwo ladies, one being whiteand one being AfricanAmerican. The NAPBS did a goodjob of responding the sameday, saying part “NBC’sToday Show and reporterJeff Rossen have done adisservice to employers andthe general public by focus-ing on a small number ofunfortunate instances in anattempt to indict an entire
  12. 12. Air Force May instruction says. Force Times. But in that process, the Pratten said of the appeal NYPD, without additional court ruling.Limit Access To “Considering the fact that Fidell wonders if every- warrants or subpoenas orCriminal anyone subject to the one, including attorneys any of that, can see all the "All we were asking for is UCMJ can act as an accus- who want to write “friend happenings on that stolen the same benefits of adopt-Records er under the UCMJ, the ac- of the court” briefs, will phone. Sometimes phone ed people. Theyve basical- cused normally retains a now have to submit a FOIA companies even give up ly said, `No, you cant have The Air Force is changing reasonable expectation of request to get any docu- information associated with that. And theyve basicallythe rules on how the media privacy upon preferral of ments related to criminal the victims new number, said that its OK for theand general public get in- charges,” the instruction trials from military attor- which is a little bit unset- government to discrimi-formation about airmen ac- says. neys — even defense mo- tling, right? nate. Its failing to protectcused of crimes. tions. With all the paper- the health and safety of do- That expectation of priva- work, delays and internal Civil Rights Lawyer Nor- nor-conceived people, thats A recent Air Force In- cy begins to decline when appeals, the FOIA process man Siegal agrees. "There what this court has done.struction lists several the charges reach a public ends up impeding transpar- is absolutely no legitimate Well be appealing it to thechanges to how the service forum, such as a court- ency. purpose for doing this. If Supreme Court of Canada."applies the Uniform Code martial or Article 32 hear- I’m an innocent New York-of Military Justice that are ing, the instruction says. er, why should any of my The appeal court conclud-intended to protect the pri- New York Cops information be in a police ed that contrary to Prattensvacy of accused airmen at An Air Force spokesman Find Way To Get database," he tells Gold- argument, it is not her con-the expense of the public’s said the changes outlined in stein. stitutional right to know herright to know. the instruction do not limit Cell-Phone biological past. what information is availa- Telephone Also, it doesnt quite make The Air Force Instruction ble to the media but are sense that law enforcement "There are many non-appears to curtail the pub- meant to ensure that FOIA Records would hold on to the infor- donor offspring who do notlic’s access to criminal rec- and the privacy act are im- by Rebecca Greenfield mation after the case is know their family historyords. plemented properly. closed, either. or the identity of their bio- Without court orders of logical father because of “Under the Privacy Act, “This will not change the any sort, the New York Police wont say how decisions taken by others,information from a system media’s current ability to City police have gotten ac- many records they have or because of the circum-of records, such as a court- get charge sheets or other cess to "a trove of tele- hostage. But phone compa- stances of their concep-martial file maintained in a information about accused phone logs," reports The nies got 1.5 million* of tion," Justice David Frankel[Judge Advocate General’s] airmen,” Lt. Col. John Dor- New York Timess Joseph these requests in 2011 said in the written ruling onoffice about an individual, rian said in an email. “We Goldstein. alone. So, probably a lot? T behalf of the three judges.may not be released to the have simply clarified cur- -Mobile responded to al-public without the individu- rent policy and law to en- In a somewhat frightening most 300 in January alone. "However desirable it mayal’s consent unless release sure uniform application twist, it takes more paper- be that persons have accessis required by the Freedom across the Air Force. Cases work to get a thiefs cell to information about theirof Information Act,” the must always be reviewed records than it takes to getinstruction says. on a case-by-case basis.” the victims. Heres how it Woman Has Lost biological origins, Ms. Pratten has not established works: Right To Know that such access has been But submitting a FOIA However, the instruction Father recognized as sorequest does not guarantee also requires military attor- Police need a subpoena to `fundamental that it is enti-that you will get such rec- neys to comply with the get access to the phone logs tled to independent consti- A woman who wanted toords if doing so would be FOIA guidelines, a concern of the person who did the tutionally protected status stealing, which makes know the identity of her“an unwarranted invasion to Eugene R. Fidell, who under the Charter," the rul- sense because those could sperm-donor father is tak-of an individual’s personal teaches military justice at ing said. help solve the crime. ing her case to Canadas topprivacy,” which is when Yale Law School. court after the B.C. Courtsomeone’s privacy interests “Taken literally, this reg- (Though, often they dont, In May 2011, a B.C. Su- say detectives.) of Appeal threw out an ear-outweigh the public’s inter- ulation produces absurd preme Court judge agreed lier decision that sided withest in the information, the results,” Fidell told Air with Pratten, giving the her. province 15 months to amend its Adoption Act, Olivia Pratten wanted off- saying people who are de- spring like herself to be prived of their genetic treated the same as people backgrounds suffer psycho- who are adopted and ar- logical harm. gued that the B.C. govern- ment should change its Judge Elaine Adair also laws accordingly. ordered a permanent in- junction against the de- But the appeal court ruled struction of donor records, there is no legal right for which can be disposed of in offspring to know their past six years, but the B.C. gov- and providing such infor- ernment appealed the rul- mation would amount to ing. state intrusion into many peoples lives. "Its very disappointing,"
  13. 13. Researchers Las Vegas to try to speak to that students need to at UCF. an employee of Instant- know,” said Thomas Hall,Charge Racial director of Wellness andProfiling On Health Promotion Services “I told them what I knewOnline Criminal about the racial profiling,Record Websites and they said, ‘We can’t talk to you, you have to come back.’” Tanner said. Two Harvard researcherscharged that a website When Tanner finally metwhich catalogs mug shots with the company’s calland criminal records engag- center manager, he said hees in racial profiling in its was told, “I don’t care ifadvertising—just before the you’re the Pope of Rome;founder of a different crim- you’re not welcome here.”inal records website madehis first public appearance. But at the event on at which Tanner and Sweeney Director of the Data Priva- spoke in CGIS, Kyle Prall,cy Lab at Harvard Latanya the founder of similar siteSweeney and Harvard De-,partment of Government agreed to answer audienceFellow Adam Tanner have questions and accusationsresearched these websites about his business.while writing an upcomingbook on online criminal Sweeney had suggestedrecords. that sites like BustedMug- could qualify as “What has changed is using extortion tactics,scope of sharing,” Sweeney since they demand paymentsaid. “Years ago...limits of to remove images. Pralltechnology posed natural affirmed that these publicbarriers to sharing and dis- records are available to thesemination.” public based on the First Amendment, justifying the Today, however, this in- practices of his website.formation is rapidly spreadonline. Good Samaritan In their talk—subtitled “a Helps Druggie,tale of crime, betrayal, lust,race, and the internet”— Gets ArrestedSweeney and Tanner al- For Possession You can wait in line or we can—Straightlineleged based on their re-search that Google searches Unintentional drug over-for typically African- dose is one of the leadingAmerican names lead to causes of death in Florida,negative ads posted by one where an average of sevenof these criminal records people die every day fromsites, InstantCheck- the misuse of, while typically drugs, according to OrangeCaucasian names draw neu- County Mayor Teresa Ja-tral ads. cobs’ Prescription Drug Task Force. For example, whenSweeney searched her own As of Oct. 1, the 911name, she saw an ad say- Good Samaritan Act wenting, “Latanya Sweeney: into effect in an attempt toArrested?” In contrast, a reduce the number of over-search for “Tanya Smith” dose-related deaths. Floridaproduced an ad saying, passed the bill in March,“Located: Tanya Smith.” which protects any person experiencing a drug-related Sweeney and Tanner’s overdose, or any personresearch led them across seeking medical assistancethe country in attempt to for someone who is, fromuncover the people behind being charged with a crimethese criminal records web-sites. Tanner traveled to of possession. “I think it’s something Mumbai city-wide police checks
  14. 14. Law Allows ords in North Carolina. If a hearing on the matter is successful, the petition-NC Nonviolent The change applies only er’s record is wiped clean,Offenders To to people convicted of cer- both in court and law en- tain felonies or misdemean- forcement records.Clear Records ors who, for 15 years after- ward, have no other convic- State and local law en- A law change that went tions other than traffic vio- forcement agencies willinto effect December 1st lations in any jurisdiction. still have the ability to re-allows one-time, nonviolent view expunged records foroffenders of all ages to ex- The law can apply even to employment purposes, ac-punge their criminal rec- multiple felonies or misde- cording to the law. The meanors if a person was agencies that certify law convicted of all within the enforcement officers also same court session. can review the expunged records, which are to be Some offenses may not be kept in confidential files purged from a criminal rec- with the Administrative ord, including: Office of the Courts. — those containing assault as an essential element North Carolina law al- — certain sex-related or ready allowed a person to stalking offenses expunge certain crimes — those involving meth- committed before age 18 or amphetamine, heroin or 21, but the changes now in possession with intent to effect expand the provision sell or deliver cocaine to adults of all ages. Ex- — burning crosses in pub- punction also is possible lic places, intimidation by when charges are dis- displaying items such as a missed, when a person is noose, or intimidation found not guilty or not re- while wearing a mask, sponsible, and when a per- hood or other disguise son is pardoned. — those in which a person contaminated another’s Manila Court Record Research and Retrieval food or drink to render them helpless Over 20 years experience. To purge a record, the Steven Brownstein North Carolina resident Straightline International may petition the court at least 15 years after the con- viction date or after any Background Check Filipino active sentence, probation Health Care Workers or post-release supervision has been served, whichever The Philippines is one of the world’s largest exporters of is later. health workers, making this one of the country’s most important exports. The petition — which in- cludes a $175 fee — must contain an affidavit by the petitioner that he or she has been of good moral charac- ter, statements from two unrelated people verifying the person’s good character and reputation, and affirma- tion that the petitioner has no outstanding restitution Straightline Internationals local staff provides com- amounts or civil judgments. plete background searches plus ALL public records in the The request then goes to Philippines. the District Attorney’s of- fice, which has 30 days to Ask About Our “No Delay” Philippines decide whether to object to Service the expunction. The district attorney also must make his Call 1-866-909-6678 best efforts to notify the Or Fax 1-866-909-6679 victim of the crime, if one exists.
  15. 15. Congress: database of criminal history establishment of a National However, theft by em- the survey. records, including arrest Crime Database Council ployees has risen to 33 perNBI Record and dispositions,” Teodoro which shall have the au- cent compared to 19 per Airplane JokeCheck In said. thority to promulgate rules cent in 2008, found the sur- and procedures governing vey of 34 retailers, repre-Philippines Irish police are investigat- Criminal history records the use of the national senting about one-quarter ing the crash of a smallNeeds means information collect- criminal database. of 2011 retail new sales. light aircraft in a cemetary ed by criminal agencies onImprovement south-west of Dublin. individuals consisting of Canadian On the other hand, esti- identifiable descriptions mated theft by external par- Employees The emergency services A member of the Philip- and notations of arrests, ties including shoplifters say it may well be the worstpines House of Representa- detentions, indictments, or Stealing Like and organized criminals has aviation disaster in Irishtives has filed a bill calling other formal criminal decreased to 43 per cent Crazy history.for the creation of a nation- charges, and any disposi- since the 2008 estimate ofal crime database to up- tion arising there from, in- 65 per cent. Probing the crash site, res-grade the country’s crime cluding acquittal, sentenc- Canadian retailers are los- cue workers have so farfighting capabilities and to ing, correctional supervi- ing about $4 billion a year While three out of five discovered over 500 bodies.hasten the resolution of sion, or release. to “shrinkage” — a loss of retailers perform pre-crimes. inventory caused by differ- employment screenings be- The terms do not include ent sources such as theft, fore hiring new staff, only “This central computer- identification information inventory counting errors, 29 per cent request newized database will strength- such as fingerprint records accounting errors, fraud or employees toen and expand inter-agency if such information does damaged products accord- pass a policecoordination and coopera- not indicate involvement of ing to PwCs 2012 Canadi- backgroundtion in terms of criminal the individual with the an Retail Security Survey, check. This isrecords and other pertinent criminal justice system. completed in conjunction one-half as manydata needed to hasten reso- with the Retail Council of that said they didlution and prevention of The measure mandates the Canada (RCC). so in 2008, foundcrimes,” Marikina repre-sentative Marcelino Teodo-ro said in a statement. Teodoro is the author ofHB 5709 or the “NationalCrime Database Act of2012,” which proposes theestablishment of the crimi-nal record database. “I am confident the Com-mittee on Public Order andSecurity would give dueconsideration to my pro-posal while there’s stilltime until our term ends in2013,” Teodoro said. The bill would require theNational Bureau of Investi-gation and the PhilippineNational Police to provideinformation and records forthe National IdentificationIndex and the National Fin-gerprint File in order toprovide criminal historyrecords in a timely fashion. Likewise, it should createcriminal history recordsrepositories, and for non-criminal justice purposes,to update existing criminalrecords system that are cur-rently outdated and containincomplete or incorrect in-formation. “This data central wouldmake accessible detailed
  16. 16. Rossen Reports: >>> back now at 7:41 with pened to catherine taylor . a these cases. he says too of- mixed her up with this "rossen reports." finding a stay at home mom looking ten background check com- catherine taylor , a repeatBackground new job is hard enough but to get back to work. the red panies rely solely on com- drug offender with theCheck Mistakes now experts say there may cross wanted to hire her. as puters to match the data same date of birth but noth- be a hidden flaw that can an accountant. with no one checking to ing else in common. theyCost Jobs ruin your chance of getting make sure the results are didnt even live in the same >> i was supposed to start hired. today national inves- state. correct. a billion dollar in-When you apply for a job, tigative correspondent jeff work the following week. dustry, he says, that is wellmost employers will do a rossen is here with the de- >> i have never been con- aware of the problem. if thecriminal background check. tails. >> reporter: but then sud- victed of anything, none- companies know this prob-You may think it’s nothing denly catherine s job offer theless have a traffic ticket. lem exists, why not just fix was yanked. a criminalto worry about if your rec- >> good morning. we all it?ord is clean, but experts are know when you apply for a background check had >> reporter: consumer ad- come back with a long rap vocates say these mistakes >> they would have tosaying background compa- job most employers will donies are causing innocent sheet of drug felonies. the are happening far too often. spend money on personnel a criminal backgroundpeople to lose their jobs by check . we do them here. problem is, it wasnt her. take leonard smith . when and instituting proceduresmistaking them for felons. nothing to worry about, he applied for a job the which would carve into >> i was devastated. it was background check compa- their profits.NBC’s Jeff Rossen investi- right? because youre not agates. like my whole world was criminal. well, think again. ny, sterling info systems, experts say the background just torn apart. confused him with this sex >> reporter: under federalThis content comes from check companies are caus- offender , who was in pris- law , the companies are re- >> reporter: the company on at the time. it also hap- quired to use reasonableClosed Captioning that was ing innocent people to losebroadcast along with this hired to run the background pened to james hines , an jobs, mistaking them for procedures to assure maxi-program. drug felons, armed robbers, check in 2006 , choice- innocent dad. the back- mum possible accuracy. point, one of the biggest, even sex offenders . it hap- ground check company adp mixed him up with michael >> the error rate is less than Birmingham, AL Municipal Court james hines , a convicted 10%. sex offender in a different state. they dont even have Are you missing these important criminal records? the same first name. the not in alacourt companies say accuracy is not in dexter important, but errors do not in any database happen. not accessible off site >> consumers are losing jobs by the thousands every We go on site daily for $3/ name (free alias) year because of bad back- ground checks that are run 205/ 823-4260 on them. >> reporter: jim francis is an attorney specializing in
  17. 17. Contact: Steven Brownstein PMB 1007 Box 10001 Saipan, MP 96950 1-670-256-7000 >> you know, if there areBackground errors in a report individu- als do have an opportunityCheck Mistakes to contest it so im sorry. iCost Jobs, just dont know all the factsContinued from preceding page of that particular case.>> we went straight to the >> reporter: catherine didindustry group representing contest it but by the timethose companies. choicepoint cleared it up, that job was long gone.>> accuracy is paramount. >> they need to have tight->> reporter: how do you er, stricter controls. youreexplain background compa- talking about human lives.nies coming back with a this has got to stop.different date of birth, dif-ferent state, just matching a >> the company that ranfirst and last name in some catherine taylor s back-cases. does that seem accu- ground check was boughtrate to you? by lexus nexus . they say their systems have since>> it -- what i will say to improved and now theythat is that the most im- have a 99.8% accuracy rate.portant thing is to let view- experts say if this happensers know how background to you, you dont havechecks are conducted. many options, unfortunate-youre speaking of hypo- ly. you can contact thetheticals. background check company as catherine did and dispute>> reporter: we asked her it. the problem is, they haveabout a real life example. i 30 days to investigate. bywant to show you a picture. then the job could be longthis womans name is cath- gone as it was with cathe-erine taylor . she lives in rine . the only other optionarkansas and applied for a unfortunately, savannah, isjob with the local red to sue the company butcross . the background once again the job isntcheck comes back and says there when you want it.she has a long rap sheet of they just go down the list.drug felonies. turns outthey mistook her with this >> doesnt remedy it if youwoman who lives in a dif- dont get the job. thanks forferent state. how does this bringing the story. appreci-happen? ate