Author Archives: admin9
Author Archives: admin9
New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) grants individuals the statutory right to inspect and copy New York’s public records. There are no limitations in place as to who can request access to this information.
The government bodies included within the bounds of the Freedom of Information Law include any state or municipal board, bureau, division, commission, committee or authority. The term public record is defined as any information that has been held, filed, produced or created by any agency mentioned above. Each agency is required to maintain records on the voting practices, names, titles and salaries of their employees.
While the definition of public record is quite broad, there are multiple exemptions which could hinder one’s ability to gain access to a source of information. For instance, any records that would interfere with bid or contract awards cannot be disclosed, as well as any information that would potentially compromise an ongoing law enforcement investigation.
In order to more fully understand New York’s public records law, examine New York’s Freedom of Information Law in its entirety.
New York Criminal Records are maintained and distributed by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Individuals can request to see their own criminal record, and they will then either be delivered with their record or a response of “no record” indicating that they do not have a criminal history record in the state of New York.
While individuals cannot ask for another person’s criminal history records, there are certain allowances for employment and licensing purposes. If a criminal history record is requested for purposes of employment or licensing, the request will be granted if there is a state law, local law or federal law of a New York State town, village, city or county that authorizes a fingerprint-based criminal history search for these instances.
The New York State Division of State Police oversees the maintenance and distribution of New York arrest records. These records are releasable to individuals involved in the arrest or to a person with a legitimate interest as stated by the Public Officers Law.
The New York Criminal State Division of Criminal Justice Services is responsible for overseeing and distributing state issued background checks.
The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is responsible for maintaining and distributing New York jail and inmate records. Individuals seeking record information regarding inmates can utilize the name-based search tool available on the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website. Searches can be done according to last name, first name, birth year, or department identification number. A search result for an inmate will supply the sex, race, custody statistics, holding location and release facility of the person in question. It will also show their minimum and maximum sentences, as well as the earliest possible release date. Parole information may or may not be available.
More information regarding New York’s jail and inmate records can be found within New York’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
State and county level court records are held and overseen by the New York State Unified Court System. Electronic access to a wide array of court records, such as judicial decisions, case files, judicial decisions and other case information, is available on the New York State Unified Court System website.
More information regarding New York’s court records can be found on the website for the New York Office of Court Administration.
New York Vital Records are overseen by the New York State Department of Health. They consist of birth, death, marriage, divorce, fetal death and still birth certificates. Birth and death certificates are available from 1881, marriage licenses are available from 1880 and dissolution of marriage certificates are available from 1963.
Requests for New York Vital Records can be made in person, online or by mail, and more information regarding how to request vital records is available on the New York State Department of Health website.
As written in New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA), only New Jersey citizens can access New Jersey’s public records. Convicts, however, cannot request any information regarding the personal information of a victim or family member of a victim to their offense.
The government bodies included in New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act include any principal department of the executive branch of state government, as well as any division, board, office, commission or bureau of the state. Also, any independent state agency, authority or instrumentality is included. New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act does not, however, cover the records of New Jersey courts.
A New Jersey custodian of records, the individual who is responsible for processing public records requests, can deny a request if it is in violation of an exemption. Many exemptions exist, including not divulging trade secrets or any information regarding sexual harassment complaints or grievances.
For more information regarding the public records law of New Jersey, examine New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act in its entirety.
New Jersey criminal records are maintained and distributed by the State Bureau of Identification (SBI), which is overseen by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). If an individual wishes to request their own personal criminal record, then they must be fingerprinted at a Live Scan location that has been approved by the state and deliver a form and fee.
The criminal records of New Jersey are restricted, and are therefore not made available to the public. Requests of criminal records for third parties can only be placed by authorized government and state agencies, as well as authorized law enforcement units and employers.
The New Jersey State Bureau of Identification is responsible for overseeing and maintaining state issued background checks, and they operate under the New Jersey State Police.
Inmate and Incarceration records in New Jersey are handled by the New Jersey Department of Corrections. An inmate can be looked up online using the Department of Corrections Offender Search system. This database is maintained by the information provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections and law enforcement.
The Offender Search database can supply inmate information regarding name, date of birth, race, gender and type of offense. It will also indicate which facility is currently holding the inmate, their maximum release date, parole eligibility and mandatory sentence terms.
More information regarding New Jersey’s jail and inmate records can be found within New Jersey’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.
The New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts maintains court records, calendars, opinions, schedules, attorney regulations and trial court decisions. Accessing New Jersey court records can be achieved by filing a request with the Office of the Superior Court. Civil, family, criminal and municipal court records are all available for public review.
More information regarding obtaining or requesting court records can be found on the New Jersey Administrative Office of Courts website.
New Jersey Vital Records are overseen by the State of New Jersey Department of Health. Birth, death and marriage records are available from 1915 to present, while domestic partnership and civil union records date back to 2004 and 2007 respectively. Certificate of birth resulting in stillborn records are available starting in 1969.
Vital records may be requested through the local vital records office in the municipality in which the event occurred. The State of New Jersey Department of Health has provided an online locating device to aid in finding local registrars. This tool is available on the Department of Health’s Local Vital Records Offices webpage.
Located in the southern central United States, Oklahoma became a state in 1907 with the merging of the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory. A region prone to severe weather, the state lies in the Great Plains, the U.S. Interior Highlands, and the Cross Timbers. The state has a diverse economic base that is built on such things as agriculture, natural gas, oil, aviation, and biotechnology. With over 3.8 million residents, Oklahoma is the 28th most populated state in the U.S. and does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
Oklahoma’s Open Records Act was first passed in 1985 and has been amended several times since. The Act is covered under Chapter 24 of Title 51 in the Oklahoma Statutes. The Act states that “any person,” regardless of citizenship status, has access to public records in Oklahoma. You may request records for any purpose, but if the purpose is commercial, you may be charged an additional fee.
Records that are subject to the Act include all records from public bodies, including the executive and judicial branches. The legislative branch is not covered by the Act unless records relate to the spending of public funds. Records that are not covered by the Act, or that are exempt, include:
Background checks in Oklahoma are administered by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). A Criminal History Records Check can be requested on anyone, by anyone, and does not require a signed release by the person being checked. You simply need to fill out the application with the appropriate information. There is also an online search portal that employers and licensing agencies can use to perform background checks instantly. These are name-based reports that return arrest history for the state of Oklahoma only.
To find information on the state correctional facilities, inmates in the system, or services for victims, visit the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website. If you wish to locate an offender in the Oklahoma prison system, there is a search page that will prompt you to enter either an ODOC# or a First and Last Name. The results will return an image, if available, a description, list of offenses, current location, and earliest possible release date.
Oklahoma Court Records
Information on courts in Oklahoma and how to obtain court records can be found on the state’s administrator of the courts website. The online search page will allow you to search the dockets for all district courts as well as the three appellate courts in the state. Copies of full case files and more specific records will still need to be requested from the clerk of the court in the courthouse where the case was heard.
Oklahoma Vital Records
Vital records in Oklahoma, such as birth and death certificates, are administered by the Oklahoma Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics Office. Birth and death certificates are available from 1908 to present. To obtain either of these, you will need to prove that you are an interested party, such as being listed on the certificate, an immediate family member, legal guardian, or legal representative. Birth records become open records after 125 years and death records after 75 years. To request either of these you can do the following:
Marriage and divorce records in Oklahoma are only maintained by the counties in which the event took place. If you need a marriage or divorce certificate, you will need to make the request from the clerk of the court in the county where the marriage or divorce took place.
Located in the South Atlantic Region of the United States, the state of Virginia is rich in history and has many nicknames to prove it. Also known as the “Old Dominion” because it was the first colonial possession established in mainland British America and “Mother of Presidents” because Virginia was the birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents. Virginia was one of the original 13 colonies, and its General Assembly is known as the oldest continuous law-making body in the country. The state is the 12th most populated, with over 8.3 million residents, and does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1968 and can be found in Title 2.2 Chapter 37 of the Code of Virginia. The state also established a Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council in 2000 as a source of both formal and informal advice to individuals and public agencies. Under the Law, “any person from the state of Virginia” may access public records. The purpose of the request need not be stated, and the use of any records obtained is unrestricted.
Records that are included under the Act are those produced by “public bodies” in Virginia including state universities, and the executive and legislative branches. Records that are not included, or are exempt, include:
Background checks in Virginia are administered by the Virginia State Police. A Criminal History Records Check is a name-based search that can be ordered by individuals, employers, and licensing agencies. Depending on the situation, as governed by statute, a signed and notarized authorization form may be required before running the background check. These reports return criminal histories for the state of Virginia only.
The Virginia Department of Corrections website has information on offenders, the correctional facilities in the state, and services for victims. If you wish to locate an offender in the system, you can search on the Offender Locator page that will ask you for either an Offender ID or a First and Last Name. You will be provided with the offender’s current location and earliest release date.
Information on the court system in Virginia and court records can be found on the administrator of the courts website. Disclosure of court records is governed by both separate statutes and common law. The court website has pages that can be searched for case status and information on cases in the supreme court, the court of appeals, the circuit court, and the general district court. There is no online access for the juvenile or domestic relations court. Regardless of the online information obtained, copies of actual case files will still need to be requested from the clerk of the court at the courthouse where the case was heard.
Vital records, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates, in the state of Virginia are administered by the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Vital Records. Birth records and death records are available from 1912 to present. Marriage records are available from 1936 to present and divorce records from 1918 to present. In Virginia, birth records become public information after 100 years and death, marriage and divorce records after 25 years. If the data isn’t “public”, you will need to prove that you are either listed on the record or are an immediate family member, legal guardian, or legal representative to make a request.
There are several ways to request any of these records in Virginia:
An unincorporated territory located in the South Pacific, American Samoa consists of five main islands and two coral atolls. American Samoa is part of the Samoan Islands chain, which is west of the Cook Islands and north of Tonga. The southernmost territory of the U.S., American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory, and tuna is its chief export. The government of the territory is defined under the Constitution of American Samoa, and its 57,000 residents are considered U.S. citizens, although they cannot vote in the presidential elections. American Samoa does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
American Samoa does not have a specific public records act, but they are mentioned in the Territorial Code. In Title 04, Chapter 11 of the Annotated Code, Public Records are discussed as they relate to the executive branch of government. The language in the code has more to do with how records are to be kept than listing what is and isn’t available.
It is stated that such things as land titles, land transfers, court grants, native leases, corporations, and registers of the government should be kept as “public records”. The code also states that these items shall be open and available for public inspection. No exempt items are listed.
Background checks in American Samoa are available from the Commission of Police, Department of Public Safety. They no longer have an active website, but you can write to them with a request for information at: Commissioner of Police, P.O. Box 53, Apia, AS 00917.
Corrections in American Samoa is administered by the Department of Public Safety. They used to have a website, but it is no longer active. There is one correctional facility on the main island called the Tafuna Correctional Facility Authority. The phone number to call the department for questions about inmates or other services is 684-699-1911.
American Samoa does not have a federal court like many of the other territories. They have a High Court of American Samoa and a local district court, located in the capital of Pago Pago. Neither has a website, but you can get a great deal of information about the American Samoa courts and laws from the American Samoa Bar Association website. There is a database search available on this website and a link to court information so that you can make a records request in person to the clerk of the court.
Most vital records in American Samoa are administered by the Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS), Office of Vital Statistics. There is no website for this agency. All records require the person requesting them to establish eligibility. This means that you are either listed on the record or are an immediate relative, legal guardian, or legal representative. The method for applying and dates available depend on the type of certificate that you are requesting.
· Birth Certificates – Birth certificates are available from 1890 to present. Your request for this, along with a money order for $5 and proof of eligibility should be sent to: American Samoa Government, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 6894, Pago Pago, AS 96799.
· Death Certificates – Death certificates are available from 1900 to present. Your request for this, along with a money order for $5 and proof of eligibility should be sent to: American Samoa Government, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Vital Statistics in American Samoa.
· Marriage Certificates – Marriage certificates do not give a date from which they are available. Your request for this, along with a money order for $5 and proof of eligibility should be sent to: American Samoa Government, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Vital Statistics in Amercian Samoa.
· Divorce Certificates – Divorce certificates do not give a date from which they are available. Your request for this, along with a money order for $5 and proof of eligibility should be sent to: High Court of American Samoa, American Samoa Government, Pago Pago, AS 96799.
Located in the upper Midwestern region of the United States, North Dakota is bordered by Canada to the north and South Dakota to the south. The state is the 19th largest but the 4th least populated, with just 739,000 residents. The state is known for having a strong economy and low unemployment numbers, with an industry rich in natural resources. North Dakota does make records available to the public through various measures.
The North Dakota Open Records Statute is covered under Chapter 4 of Title 44 of the North Dakota Century Code. Article XI, Section 6 of the State Constitution also has provisions for the sharing of public records. What these provisions state is that “all records” may be requested by “any person” unless specifically excluded by statute. The purpose of the records request does not need to be disclosed, and records can be used for generally any purpose once obtained.
Records that are included in the public records laws include records from governmental bodies, including the executive and legislative branches. The Act does exclude the judicial branch, and there is assumed to be common law access to these records unless otherwise excluded. Records that are not covered under the law, or that are exempt, include:
Criminal history checks are administered by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The BCI makes a clear distinction between a background check, which could simply be a search of public records, and a criminal history check, which is a search of confidential law enforcement databases.
The BCI conducts Criminal History Records Checks on either a name-based or fingerprint-based search. Either check requires a signed authorization form by the subject and the report will return a criminal history for the state of North Dakota only.
If you are looking for information on inmates in the state of North Dakota, services for victims, or want to find out about the correctional facilities in the state, you can visit the Department of Corrections website. To locate an offender in the system, the state has a search form in which you just enter the last name of the offender. The result will give you the offender’s current location, date of birth, and estimated release date, with a photo if available.
Any information on courts or court cases in the state of North Dakota can be found on the administrator of the courts website. There is a search page that will allow you to search district court records by name, citation number, or case number. You can also search court calendars for any court in the state. To obtain detailed case files, you will still need to contact the clerk of the court in the particular courthouse where the case was heard.
Birth and death certificates in North Dakota are administered by the state Department of Health Division of Vital Records. To request a copy of any of these records, you must prove eligibility by either being the person listed on the record, a spouse, child, parent, guardian, next of kin, or authorized agent. Birth and death records are available from 1930 to present and can be obtained in the following manner:
Marriage records are available in North Dakota from July 1925 to present and Divorce records from July 1949 to present. These records can only be obtained through the county clerk or recorder in the county in which the event took place.
Located in the Midwestern United States, Missouri is also known as “The Show Me State.” Originally part of the land that acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the state was the Missouri Territory before achieving statehood in 1821. The starting points for the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and Pony Express were all located in Missouri. The state capital is Jefferson City, but its largest city is St. Louis. With a population of over 6 million people, it is the 18th most populous state in the nation and does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
Disclosure of public records in Missouri is covered under three statutes. The Missouri Public Records Lawwas passed in 1961 and applies more specifically to what records public agencies are required to keep. The Sunshine Law and the Arrest Records Law were both passed in 1973 and are found in Chapter 610 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. These laws set policy on the disclosure of records to the public.
Under the Laws, “any member of the public” may request access to public records. The purpose of the application generally does not need to be stated. However, if you are asking for records that are exempt, you will have a greater chance of getting them if you can show a “material interest.” There is no restriction on the use of records once obtained.
The records that are included under the Laws are records from any governmental bodies and “quasi-public governmental bodies”, which includes the executive and legislative branches. The Laws do not cover the courts, except in regards to their administrative records. Records that are not covered by the Laws, or are exempt, include:
Criminal Record Checks in Missouri are administered by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS). The CJIS conducts both name-based and fingerprint-based background checks. There is also an online portal for name-based searches called the Missouri Automated Criminal History System (MACHS), on which anyone can request a name-based criminal records search on anyone else without a signed consent. The only information needed to conduct a search are Full Name, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number.
Visit the Missouri Department of Corrections website to find out information on inmates in the system, services for victims, and correctional facilities in the state. To locate an offender, there is an Offender Search page that will prompt you to enter either a Doc Id or a First and Last Name. You will be given the offender’s location, a list of offenses, and earliest possible release date.
Any information on courts or court records in the state of Missouri can be found on the state’s administrator of the courts website. Missouri courts have an online search tool called CaseNet that allows searches of dockets, judgments and case records. Public access to court documents in Missouri is considered to be a common law right. Most of the courts in the state can be searched on this system, but you may still need to request full court records from the clerk of the court at the courthouse where the case was heard.
Vital Records in Missouri, such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates can be obtained from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records. You must prove a relationship to the party on the certificateto make a request for any of these, such as being named on the license or being a spouse, child, parent, other relative, guardian, or legal representative. How to request each and the dates available depend on the type of vital record that you need:
Located in the Southeastern United States, Tennessee is the 36th largest state and is also known as “The Volunteer State” due to its role in the War of 1812. Famous for the country music scene in Nashville, the state’s second-largest city, and the country’s most visited national park, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee has much to offer residents and visitors alike. With over 6.5 million residents, Tennessee does make provisions for the sharing of its records with the public.
The Tennessee Open Records Act was initially passed in 1957 and is found in Title 10, Chapter 7 of the state statutes. The Act states that public records are open to “any citizen of the state of Tennessee” and this has been expanded to include corporations. The purpose of the request does not have to be stated and records received can be used for any purpose, commercial or otherwise.
Records that are covered under the Act include records from all government agencies, including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Non-governmental bodies that receive public funds are also covered. Records that are not covered under the Act, or are exempt, include:
Background checks in the state of Tennessee are administered by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The general public, employers, and licensing agencies can request a name-based background check on anyone through the online system, called Tennessee Open Records Information Services (TORIS), or through the mail that will return an adult criminal history for the state of Tennessee only.
If you’d like to find information on an inmate in the Tennessee system, learn about the state prisons, or about agency services, you can visit the state Department of Corrections website. If you want to locate an offender, you can search on the state’s webpage called Felony Offender Information (FOIL) either by Name, TOMIS ID, or State ID. The search results will provide you with the offender’s sentencing date, supervision status, and earliest parole eligibility date.
Information on Tennessee courts can be found on the state administrator of the courts website. This site has information on all courts in the state, and you can look up information on court meetings, opinions, and oral arguments from their student page. Any particular court records, however, will need to be requested from the specific court where the case was heard.
Vital records pertaining to birth, death, marriage, and divorce in the state of Tennessee are administered by the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Vital Records. For any of these certificates, you must either be the person named on the certificate or a spouse, parent, child, or legal guardian to make a request. There are several ways to apply for a birth, death, marriage or divorce certificate in Tennessee:
Birth records are available dating back to 1914, and death records for the last 50 years. Marriage and divorce records are also available for the last 50 years. If you are looking for records older than this, you can ask the county where the event took place or approach the Tennessee State Archives with your request.