Kansas Public Records
Table of Contents
How to Access Kansas Public Records
As with each state, public access to records is protected by the Freedom of Information Act. In Kansas, the first FOIA was passed in 1957 and has been updated twice, once in 1972 and again in 1984. The FOIA protects citizens’ rights to obtain information that effects the public and that has been determined to be public information. Information protected under this act includes information discussed at public meetings, such as town council sessions, judicial proceedings and any other meeting whose proceedings and outcome will have an impact on the public. Examples of these meetings include local school board meetings, legislative sessions, public utility meetings and other meetings of agencies in which the public has an interest. Excluded from these are juvenile court proceedings, military records whose release would compromise the safety of the general public and information in ongoing lawsuits whose release could influence the proceedings outcome.
Kansas Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
In Kansas, accessing criminal and arrest records is as simple as visiting the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s website and entering the appropriate information. Conducting a background check will cost $20.00 per search, and can be done by anyone, for anyone. Certain records will not be released when prohibited by statutes, such as juvenile records, expunged records and any other criminal record that is exempt from being released to the general public. Also not included are arrests in which persons were found not guilty or in which the case was dismissed. Diversions that have been successfully completed, arrest records over a year old that have no record of disposition. What will be included are criminal convictions, both misdemeanor and felony, convictions for violations of city and county ordinances that are considered misdemeanors according to statutes. Arrest records from the prior 12 months that have no disposition and diversions that are active are also included.
Kansas Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records are found in Kansas by searching KASPER– Kansas Adult Supervised Population Electronic Repository. While the state strives to keep completely accurate records, if someone finds an error, they are able to alert the state to get it rectified. The public can access records of anyone that is currently incarcerated through the Kansas Department of Criminal Justice, but the search must include at the very least a name. This site also has an advanced search feature to help pull up records. Often this information is needed in order to locate an offender. Other information provided by KASPER includes Parole and Community Corrections absconders. Absconder information can be accessed with pictures and thumbnails, which is a handy feature to help keep Kansans safe.
Kansas Court Records
Kansas court records and opinions can be accessed from the Kansas Judicial Branch website. Here the public can access court decisions and opinions. The site contains self-help directories to guide the public in their search. Another site that can be used to access court records is the Office of Judicial Administration. The public can search active and completed cases by names of those involved. There are limitations regarding what records are found here. Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties are exceptions and there are links to those counties sites, however these sites are only available as subscriptions services. The OJA site charges $1 per search, even when no results are produced unless the user is a subscriber to the site. Records retrieved include civil limited action, domestic and family law, marriage licenses, personal property tax records, probate, small claims, state tax and statutory liens. Those wishing to avoid the fee can try searching county specific records. Some counties, such as Shawnee County Third Judicial District, provide public access online for free. Juvenile records are not included unless transferred to adult status.
Kansas Vital Records
As with all vital statistics, the public has limited access. Adoption records may or may not be available depending on the terms of the adoption. If it was an open adoption, then the records are available, but a closed adoption has had the records sealed. Birth records, death records, marriage and divorce records as well as still born records are available at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment through the Office of Vital Statistics. Citizens can also obtain a copy of their birth certificate here, as well as certificates of no marriage. These records are not public records and can only be accessed by the parties listed on the records. Kansas protects this information to prevent identity theft and other issues that can arise by releasing this sensitive information to the public.