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Located apart from the continental United States and northwest of Canada, Alaska is the largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state. Known for its diverse terrain, mountains and forests, Alaska is also known as a more conservative state when it comes to the release of public records.
Many public records in the state of Alaska are available to the public, with some exceptions. The Alaska government has included clauses in their statutes that allow them to hold back notes from confidential meetings and status reports on certain aspects of running the government. Also, meeting notes from the state Ethics Committee are confidential until a ruling is in place.
Aside from those exceptions, Alaska law says that the public records of all public agencies are open to inspection during regular business hours. Agencies that are subject to the law include: departments, offices, agencies, state boards, commissions, public corporations, or other organizational units created under the executive branch. Those who are exempt include The University of Alaska and the legislature of the state.
Background checks in the state of Alaska are administered by the Alaska Department of Public Safety. These records are available to employers and licensing agencies for screening and are open to anyone in the public if they have a signed authorization form. A report can be obtained by submitting fingerprints or by doing a name-based search. There are instructions and request forms for either available here and you may also walk-in with a request.
An Alaska background check many include such information as: Social Security number confirmation, home address, and criminal history going back seven years. However, if you are hired to work with children or seniors, there are provisions for additional disclosures. Also, if your background check is related to a position in the healthcare field, volunteer or paid, it will go through the state Division of Healthcare Services.
You can obtain information on current inmates by contacting the Alaska Department of Corrections. There are numbers and services for victims assistance as well as information for the various facilities in the state that house inmates. You may also search online through vinelink.com. In order to do a search, you will need either the Offender ID or the Offender’s first and last name.
Records produced in Alaska court cases are considered to be public record unless they are otherwise sealed by the court. To get copies of Alaska court records, you will need to either visit the appropriate court office, call the intake desk, or make your request via mail (only the Anchorage court accepts requests by email). You should know which court the case was filed in, the case number, and the filing date.
Alaska vital records for such things as birth, death, marriage and divorce are kept by the Alaska State Bureau of Vital Statistics. What you can request and how far back records go depends upon the type of record.
Birth Records: Prior to 1913, birth records were not recorded by government agencies in Alaska. Although required as early as 1913, there wasn’t full compliance in the state until about 1945. According to state law, only individuals listed on the birth record may obtain copies. The only exception is for a legal guardian.
Death Records: Similar to birth records, there are no records before 1913 and no complete compliance with the law until 1945. Access to death records is limited to family members and legal representatives for 50 years after the date of death.
Marriage Records: While territorial registration of marriage in Alaska began in 1913, there are few records prior to 1930. Only those named on a marriage certificate, or a legal representative, may request copies, and there is a time limit of 50 years after the date of marriage.
Divorce Records: Divorce records after 1950 may be obtained only by individuals named on the record or their legal representations. There is also a 50 year privacy period after the event that limits the request of these records.
Whether a person seeks public information to perform a background check for a job applicant, a potential renter, or a private investigation, knowing the Idaho laws that pertain to such matters is essential. Additionally, people have a legal right to obtain public in accordance with the Transparent Idaho policies enacted in 1990. The exact details of this law may be found in the relevant manual made available by the Idaho Attorney General’s office. It is always important to stay apprised of the various statutes when conducting a background check or request for public records.
According to the Idaho Public Records Law Manual, the purpose of the public records law is to provide the public with access to records maintained by government agencies at the state and local levels. The definition of the term “public record” includes a broad assortment of information. This information includes (but may not be limited to) writing that comprises information that relates to public business that has been prepared, kept, owned, or utilized by a state or local agency, as well as by an independent – politic or corporate – public entity. Such writing might come in the form of a handwritten or typed document; it also might be viewed via computer media, punched or magnetic cards, maps, tapes, or pictures.
Records that are not covered by the public records law in Idaho would typically disclose sensitive information – these records include over 75 exemptions. The majority of these exemptions include (but are not limited to) specific information associated with law enforcement agencies, as well as juvenile records and records of investigation. They may also include documents that pertain to medical information, geographical details, employment or personnel data, financial information, and trade secrets.
A repository of criminal history records is maintained by the Idaho State Police, Bureau of Criminal Identification, and it is this agency that issues official state background checks. Criminal history records can be searched at the agency’s website by fingerprint or name. The information available on a “rap sheet” may be accessed by the public – this information may include information regarding criminal charges, convictions, dispositions, and dismissals. Also included in rap sheets is arrest information, such as the date of an arrest, the arresting agency, the case number, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, and the number of counts at the time the arrest takes place.
In Idaho, jail and inmate records are made available through the Idaho Department of Correction website. The public may access details on people who are on parole or probation in Idaho, as well as information on incarcerated individuals. A list of the felonies for which a person is incarcerated should be available, and the names of those who have been incarcerated and completed their sentences should also be found there. However, conviction information for such people will not be available via the site. To obtain such information via the site itself, a person can perform an on-site Offender Search. Another option is to go to the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) website, and click on Idaho in the dropdown box. Registration with the VINE website may be necessary in order to gain access to information there.
Those who wish to get both local and state Idaho Court Records can obtain them from the state agency that administers such information. In Idaho, the administrator of the courts is the Idaho State Judiciary, which maintains the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository. The court records for one county in Idaho (Twin Falls County) must be accessed via a different resource: The iCourt site (Idaho’s Court Records Transition Information Site).
People who require information on vital records will need to visit the website for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics has records of birth and death on file dating as far back as July of 1911. The same bureau has records of marriage and divorce dating as far back as May of 1947. In some counties, records pertaining only to those counties may date back even farther than the state records. In Idaho, birth certificates are considered legally confidential for 100 years, and stillbirth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates are considered the same for 50 years. To request vital records information, an individual or agency must fill out a certificate request form (found on the Health and Welfare website) or write a letter that includes all of the pertinent request information. A photocopy of required identification and a check or money order for the certificate fee must also be included with the request.
Gaining access to a wide range of public information is legal in Idaho. The public has the right to obtain many records maintained by state and local agencies. Knowing which records the public has access to can be helpful when conducting any kind of background check or private investigation.
Public records from the state of Massachusetts are available from a variety of different sources. There have been laws on the books in Massachusetts mandating the disclosure of public records since 1851, and many records are open if you know who and how to ask for them. Here is how you can access the various types of public records in the state of Massachusetts.
In the state of Massachusetts, the process of accessing public records is fairly straightforward. According to state public records law, any records that are created by or in the custody of any government body of the state must be made available unless it can be shown that the information will be a danger to public safety.
Exceptions to this open door policy include:
Massachusetts criminal records checks can be done on almost anyone in the state, with easy background checks that pull up arrest records and other in-depth information. In Massachusetts, a criminal record is called a CORI, which stands for “Criminal Offender Record Information” and these reports are largely open to anyone through an online portal run by the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services. While certain classes, such as employers, landlords, real estate agents, and government agencies, will see a more complete report, the general public can pull reports on anyone that will show recent convictions.
In order to locate an offender who is currently an inmate at one of the Massachusetts Department of Correction facilities, you will need to have the offender’s first name, last name and/or commitment number. You can look up the information at Vinelink.com, or you can call (877) 421-8463 for further information.
If you have questions or concerns about a current inmate, you can refer to the state of Massachusetts Victim Services unit.
If you are looking for court records in Massachusetts, it will depend on the particular court and type of case as to the proper method for obtaining records. Certain trial court case information is available to the public electronically via eAccess, where users can search by case name, case number, and case type. For court records and information before 1860, you will need to search the Judicial Archives at the State Archives of Boston. Access to records at the county level may be achieved either through the county’s website or by enlisting the help of a third party service.
All vital records in Massachusetts should be requested through their Department of Human Services, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, with the exception of very old records.
Birth and death records in Massachusetts go back as far as 1841. For records before this date, you may wish to contact the particular town or city. From 1841 to 1920, records were maintained at the Massachusetts State Archives, and you must request records from them directly either via mail or in person. You will need to know the person’s name, and the city or town in which the birth or death occurred. The archive is located at: 220 Morrissey Blvd. Boston, MA 02125.
Beginning in 1921, The Registry of Vital Records and Statistics is the place to request all birth, death, marriage and divorce records. There is no online method of requesting these. You would also either need to request via mail, in person, or through a third party website. Their address is: 120 Mt. Vernon St., 1st Floor, Dorchester, MA 02125.
Accessing public records in Rhode Island, depending on the type of records you are looking for, is protected by law and is a very straightforward process. Because of this, there is a fairly standard procedure depending on what you are looking for. Many records are available online, but access to them is limited overall. Because of this, it’s best to see what is the best procedure to access records by contacting the offices below directly.
The General Laws of Rhode Island in Section 38-2 detail the wide level of access given to public records in the state of Rhode Island. The rights of persons or agencies to obtain records of actions that involve government agencies and the public, from court records to criminal and arrest records are generally protected within the statutes of Rhode Island law, with the exception listed in 38-2.3.16, which in certain cases allows public agencies to deny access for reasons which surround the general welfare of the state. With that exception in mind, access to Rhode Island public records is fairly easy and straightforward, depending on what you are looking for.
Rhode Island has a fairly straightforward, but heavily localized, procedure for arrest records. Depending on which town or municipality you are looking in, you can also call and get arrest logs from the local police department; some of these are available online.
In terms of criminal records and background checks, the Rhode Island District Attorney’s Office allows businesses with a signed consent form to gain access to background checks (known as BCI’s) for a nominal fee of $5 per background check. These checks, however, are specifically limited to the state of Rhode Island. For a national background check (which is required for many job positions) you would have to go through the office of the Attorney General or Rhode island State Police, and there is a fee of $35.
Inmate Records for Rhode Island are available online, and can be found on the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Website. For those looking for a loved one, this gives all the information someone needs to know. For crime victims trying to keep tabs on an offender out of concern for the possibility of retaliation, VINElink is a website that makes use of a national database to notify victims by phone of where inmates are being kept as well as custody changes if and when they occur.
Rhode Island Court Records are accessed through the state’s judiciary. Court records go through the Rhode Island Judiciary and you can actually visit online and get records for cases and the status of the particular court process. You can search either by name or docket number if you have that available.
It is important to note that remote access to these records online is limited to those directly involved in a case, attorneys, and law enforcement agencies. If you’d like county court records, it’s a good idea to go down to the county courthouse where access to these records is provided at a terminal for a nominal fee.
Contact information for the state court administrator can be found at the Rhode Island Supreme Court website.
Vital records can be gotten from the Rhode Island Department of Health, which has a division of Birth, Death, and Vital Records. Each county has a division where this information can be obtained, either in person or by mail. The Department of Health Website contains a list of county offices where records can be obtained, as well as fees and other information.
Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital and home to the center of the country’s political system. From the White House to the halls of Congress, important decisions are made every day that affect all our lives. The types of work performed in the city involves the handling of sensitive and in some cases classified and confidential information necessary to keep our nation strong and protected.
Individuals seeking employment in Washington, D.C. generally must submit to rigorous background checks before receiving required clearances or authorizations to work with government agencies or those companies that support the work of the city. A background check will access those public records that provide information about a person’s criminal and civil background, as well as ensure that the person’s background is suitable for the type of employment opportunity in which they seek.
Any person has the right to request access to publicly available records of other persons. This right is provided under the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act or FOIA, under sections 2-531-539 of the D.C. Code. A formal request may be submitted online through the DC government Public FOIA Portal. Requests may also be made via mail, fax or email however online requests are handled more quickly. Documents that may not be available through a FOIA request include documents related to law-enforcement activities, those documents subject to attorney-client and work-product privilege and other documents required to be withheld under law. A complete list of exempt documents can be found in section 2-534 of the D.C. Code.
A search for criminal records, including arrest records and background checks of a person may only be requested by the person upon whom the information is based, unless authorization is given by that person to a third-party (i.e. an employer). Known as police clearances, these requests are handled through the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia and must be requested in person. A person seeking a police clearance must complete the PD Form 70 (“Criminal History Request”) and pay $7. Requests typically take up to 24 hours to process and 10 days to complete.
Information concerning the status of an individual who is currently incarcerated in the District of Columbia can be accessed by calling the D.C. Department of Corrections Department of Records Office at (202) 523-7060 or using the Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE) portal. You will need to register with VINE and must have the inmate’s offender ID number, last and first name in order to determine their location and current disposition. There is no public online database that D.C. offers on inmates other than what may be requested through the Department of Corrections or via VINE.
The D.C. Court Cases online portal provides information on civil and criminal cases adjudicated in the District of Columbia. Information provided in the portal can be accessed on any person or company where a case has been filed, either in Small Claims Court, the Landlord & Tenant Branch, Civil, and Criminal Court.
Vital records for a person born in the District of Columbia are maintained by the Department of Health. These records include birth, death, domestic partnership registration, marriage and divorce records. Persons who are permitted access to vital records include those with a “direct and tangible interest” in such records as defined in section 7-220(1) of the D.C. Code. This includes the registrant (person) upon whom the record is based, immediate family member, guardian or legal representative. If a person requesting a vital record is not the registrant or immediate family member, a direct and tangible interest must be demonstrated in order to protect the person’s personal and property right.
Requests may be accommodated in person or by mail as well as by phone at (877) 572-6332. Requests for vital records may also be made online through VitalChek.com, a source for certified vital records. The Department maintains birth, death, marriage and divorce records dating back to August 1874 and records regarding domestic partnerships since 1992.
All public records in the state are managed by the New Mexico Commission of Public Records, based out of the State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe.
Under the Inspection of Public Records Act, nearly every public record in the state is available for viewing and copying by the general public. The only exceptions are medical records of persons residing in institutions, letters of reference, letters of opinion in student or employee files, law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, trade secrets and tactical response plans for emergencies such as terrorist attacks.
Each state and local governmental agency has a records custodian to whom requests for records are directed. If the records cannot be made available within 15 business days, the requester must be provided with a written explanation as to why. Fees are set at 25 cents per page, $2.75 for audio tapes and $6.75 for DVDs.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety is responsible for handling official state background checks. Arrest records are maintained by the New Mexico State Central Repository for Criminal History.
Individuals can obtain their own criminal records by completing an authorization for the release of information and submitting it to the Department of Public Safety. The only third parties that can access full criminal records are law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.
New Mexico rarely allows criminal records to be expunged. It can only be done if the arrest was for a misdemeanor or lesser charge and no record of disposition can be found. Convictions cannot be expunged, but DNA records can be removed from the state database under certain circumstances — if the conviction was reversed, if a felony charge was not brought within one year of the arrest or if felony charges were dropped or resolved after completion of a a preprosecution diversion program.
The New Mexico Corrections Department maintains an online “Offender Search” tool that can be used by the general public. Offenders who are incarcerated in state facilities can be searched for by last and first name, offender number or NMCD number. Information available to the general public is limited to a mugshot, full name, age, sex, location and dates of incarceration and release.
The individual counties maintain records of the inmates incarcerated in county and city facilities, and many of them have their own similar online search tools.
Court records are centrally managed by the state through the New Mexico Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch maintains an online search tool at its website that can be used by the general public. Records are also available in person from the court clerk of each judicial court. A small fee is usually charged for reproduction of each type of record.
Cases filed in county probate courts can be accessed by visiting each court in person. At this time, Bernallilo County is the only county that maintains an online search tool for probate court cases.
The New Mexico Department of Health is responsible for maintaining and issuing birth and death records. The department also issues “Acknowledgment of Paternity” requests and maintains a putative father registry. Copies of marraige licenses and divorce decrees must be obtained from the original county of issue.
The Department of Health does not have cutoff dates before which records are not available, but very old records are not necessarily guaranteed to be available. Birth certificates become a matter of public record 100 years after the date that they are issued. Death certificates become a matter of public record 50 years after the date of death. There is a search fee of $10 per record for birth certificates and $5 per record for death certificates.
Iowa is a Midwestern state of over 3 million residents that sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Known for its rolling hills, corn fields, and picturesque landscape, the region is sometimes called the “American Heartland.” Iowa has public records laws on its books to guarantee that the public has access to the records of government bodies at all levels.
The first public records law in Iowa was enacted in 1967 and is covered under Iowa Code § 22 et seq. There is no restriction on who may access public records in Iowa, and there is no limitation stated on the reason for access. The public records law makes access available to “all records” of any county, city, township, school, corporation, political subdivision, and nonprofit corporation that is supported in whole or in part by property tax revenue. There are no exemptions for the governor or the legislature.
There are some exemptions to this law. In fact, there are 64 categories of exemptions in the Act and they relate to such things as:
Iowa Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Iowa are administered by the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Criminal Record History Record Dissemination Unit. The DCI has a website that allows for a limited, non-waiver, records check in which anyone can run a check on anyone else without their permission. This will produce a background check that will not have current arrests if they haven’t yet had a final disposition. A more complete criminal records check requires a signed consent and should be requested through the proper form. The records that come back for either of these background checks are for Iowa only and do not include any other states.
The Iowa Department of Corrections is the place to find out information related to offenders in the state, get help for victim’s assistance, and learn about the prison system. If you want to locate an offender in the system, you can either search directly on their website or through their partner site, Vinelink.com. Knowing as much about the offender as possible is helpful, such as First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, and County where the offense took place. You will be provided information on where they are being housed, their charges, and their estimated release date.
Access to court records in Iowa is fairly simple if you know where to look. All Iowa court information can be found through its Administrator of the Courts. Request records on particular cases at the appropriate courthouse or you can search records online through the Iowa Courts Online Search. This is also the place to find out a docket schedule and learn about such things a child support payment rulings and fines that are due to the court. Cases that are older than 1991 may need to be researched directly at the courthouse.
In the state of Iowa, vital events such as birth, death, marriage and divorce are recorded by the Iowa Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Registration of births and deaths in Iowa began in 1880, and all original records are on file with the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Birth Certificates: Birth certificates can be obtained through the state or through the county recorder’s office. However, county recorders cannot give out records for single-parent births before 1995, births between 1921-1941, or any record sealed by a court of law.
Death Certificates: Death certificates can be obtained through the state or the county recorder’s office. However, county recorders cannot give out records for deaths between 1921-1941 or any record sealed by a court of law.
Marriage Certificates: Marriage certificates can be obtained from the state agency or through the county in which the marriage occurred. However, copies of marriage certificates cannot be issued where records have been sealed by the court or for marriages taking place between 1921-1941.
Death Certificates: Death certificates can be obtained from the state agency or through the county in which the death occurred. However, copies of death certificates cannot be issued where records have been sealed by the court or for deaths taking place between 1921-1941.
The persons requesting any of these records must show that they are entitled to them by being a person named on the record, or that person’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, legal representative or legal guardian. Legal guardians, legal representatives, and siblings must present additional proof of entitlement.
Wyoming has the second lowest population density in the nation and also one of the shortest public records statutes. The state of Wyoming tries to make it easy on its citizens by making access to records simple and open.
Wyoming public records are governed by state statutes §§ 16-4-201 – 16-4-205. The law says that public records may be requested by “any person” and that they do not have to name the reason for the request. Public records covered by the law include any materials created by the state of Wyoming, including any of its counties, agencies, or municipalities. The law covers the executive and legislative branches of governments. Any public agency must make records available upon request, through a reasonable process and at a fair cost.
Exceptions to the law (what you can’t get) include:
Background checks in Wyoming are handled by the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). A report will show all arrests and convictions in Wyoming as well as in the Western Identification Network (WIN), which includes seven other states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. An employer can request these records on current and prospective employees. Anyone can pull one of these reports on themselves but not on someone else. All background checks must be done through a fingerprint card, not just a name search.
If you are searching for an inmate who is being housed by the Wyoming Department of Corrections, you will be able to determine where they are currently incarcerated, the specific conviction, a projected parole or release date, and a physical description with a photograph. This information can be obtained through Vinelink.com. To search, you should know the persons Offender ID or their Last Name and First Name.
Court records in Wyoming for both criminal and civil court cases can easily by obtained by signing up for the online Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER). Anything not available on PACER should be pursued with the particular court the case is being heard in, and you can research that through the state administrator of the courts.
Vital records in Wyoming are obtained through the Wyoming Department of Health. This is for more current records and certificates, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce. The requirements for each and how far back they can go depends on the particular certificate
Birth Certificates: The state of Wyoming began issuing birth certificated in 1909. After 100 years, the certificate becomes public record and can be viewed at the State Archives. Otherwise, birth certificates can only be obtained by the registrant if they are at least 18 years old, either parent, a legal representative or legal guardian.
Death Certificates: Similar to birth certificates, death certificates were not issued in Wyoming until 1909. After 50 years, they become public record, and you can view them at the State Archives. Otherwise, access is through the Department of Health and certificates can be obtained by immediate family members, lawyers, estate executors, and insurance companies.
Marriage Certificates: Marriage certificates in Wyoming have always been issued by the counties, and this continues today. Beginning in 1941, the state also began to issue marriage certificates. After 50 years, all of these become public record and be researched at the Archives. Otherwise, State-issued certificates can be obtained through the Department of Health and others through the county of origin.
Divorce Certificates: Wyoming has only been issuing Certificates of Divorce since 1941. After 50 years, these become public record and can be researched through the Archives. Otherwise, either party to the divorce or their lawyer can make a request through the Wyoming Department of Health or the county of origin.
The state of Wyoming only issues certified copies of certificates for events that occurred in the state of Wyoming. To receive any of these certificates, you should mail your request with a personalized check to their office in Cheyenne.