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Michigan Public Records

Michigan Public Records Laws

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) grants anyone the statutory right to inspect and copy public records unless the requester is incarcerated in a local or state correctional facility. The governmental bodies that are included under the Freedom of Information act include any Michigan agency, division, department, or commission in the executive and legislative branches of the state government. Additionally, the records of all bodies created or funded by primarily by the state or local authorities can be accessed as well.

Public records are defined rather narrowly in Michigan, consisting of any writing that has been used, owned, retained or possessed by a public body during the performance of an official function. This includes computerized data, but it does not include software.

There are also multiple exemptions that can be levied by the government officer who controls the access to public records in order to deny a request. Although these exemptions vary widely, they include not disclosing any medical, psychological or counseling information that would reveal a person’s identity, as well as not giving out the academic records of anyone that is delinquent on student loan payments.

For more information regarding Michigan’s public records law, examine Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act in its entirety.

Michigan Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks

The Michigan State Police are responsible for storing and providing access to criminal history checks in the state of Michigan. They utilize The Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), which allows for searches of public criminal history by name or by fingerprint. All felonies and serious misdemeanors are required to be reported to the state, and they are therefore searchable within the database.

The Internet Criminal History Access Tool does not supply information about federal records, juvenile records, tribal records, traffic records or criminal history from other states. In addition, a fee for each search will be charged upon request.

The Michigan State Police, Criminal Justice Information Center is responsible for overseeing state issued background checks. More information regarding criminal history records searches, name-based background checks and fingerprint-based background checks can be found on the Michigan State Police website.

Michigan Jail and Inmate Records

The Michigan Department of Corrections and the Michigan Sheriff’s office in each county manage the Michigan inmate and jail records. An online searchable database has been provided by the Department of Corrections, and it contains information regarding an inmate such as sex, name, race, age, identifying marks, scars, and DOC number. A name-based search will include release date, parole date and location of the inmate as well. The searchable database for Michigan inmates can be found on the Michigan Free Public Records Directory website.

More information regarding Michigan’s jail and inmate records can be found within Michigan’s Victim Notification Service (VINE) Profile.

Michigan Court Records

The distribution and processing of requests for Michigan Court Records are responsibilities of the Michigan Courts. A searchable online database has been provided by the Michigan Courts, and it allows individuals to search for case records by either party name, docket number or attorney name. The online database can be found on the Michigan Courts Case Search webpage.

The Michigan State Court Administrative Office can be contacted for further clarification regarding accessing court records or other court focused concerns.

Michigan Vital Records

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for maintaining, overseeing and issuing Michigan Vital Health Records. These records include birth, death, marriage and divorce records, with records dating back to 1867.

Records can be ordered online using a credit or debit card. Applications may also be sent by mail as long as they are accompanied by a payment. Information regarding the procurement of Michigan Vital Records can be found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

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