Public Record Update
December 2013
Court News

Minnesota - Case File Images
The Minnesota Judicial Branch is in the process of converting paper case documents into digital images to be stored in the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS). The case file images will be viewable on the local public access terminals (PATs) at the District Courts. All cases will be included (criminal civil, family, etc.) unless the case is sealed or confidential.

36 counties are currently scanning and making their documents viewable. All counties are expected to participate by the end of 2014. A map showing the participating counties is found at www.mncourts.gov/?page=4899.

There are a couple of key points to consider:
  • The initial cases placed into the system are the court's current cases and those going forward. The decision of which closed case files to back scan and add is a decision left up to each District Court. At present very little back scanning is going on.
  • Each county's PATs provide docket information and on a statewide basis (and not just for a particular county). The same will be true for the case file images; one may view case files from any county on the PATs.

Note Minnesota also offers online access to the Trial Court Public Access (MPA) at http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/default.aspx . However, certain publicly-accessible criminal case records or data fields cannot be viewed online but can be viewed on a PAT. Thus the online service is not equivalent to an on-site search and is not the primary resource used for employment screening.

Oklahoma - New Online Access System
The Oklahoma Court System is implementing a new United Case Management System that will provide online access to case information to the public. This system will eventually replace the two current systems currently providing access to trial court records. All counties except Cimarron are online on one of these two systems.

The Pilot Program for new Unified Case Management System is now active in Noble County. The next county to participate will be Pottawatomie. There is no published timetable when all counties will be placed on the new to the system. Note the state has been collecting $25 per case filing since 2007 to pay for this new system.

Here is a quick overview on the other two systems:
  1. Free Internet access to docket information is available for District Courts for 13 counties and for all Appellate courts at www.oscn.net. Both civil and criminal docket information is available for the counties involved. The participating counties, referred to as the OCIS Counties, are: Adair, Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, Ellis, Garfield, Logan, Oklahoma, Payne, Pushmataha, Roger Mills, Rogers, and Tulsa. Also one may search the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network from this website.
  2. The Oklahoma District Court Records site at www1.odcr.com offers both a basic and an advanced subscription search service for the remaining 63 counties. This service will also pull search results from the OSCN system for those counties. The subscription to the Advanced Tools feature is $5.00 per month. This includes advanced search for date of birth, street address, city-state-zip, outstanding warrants filter, offense or cause, and case closed date range, case and party monitoring, and search history. [Also, the site provides a Court Image Access service for $50 per month which includes unlimited access to court images, view scanned court documents, and download and print full case filings. However this image service is only available to attorneys.]
Motor Vehicle News - CDL Restrictions

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 49 relates to Transportation. Part 383 of Title 49 is the portion of the regulation on commercial driver's license standards; requirements and penalties. Recent modifications to § 383.153 include a specific list of CDL License Restrictions (and associated codes) that states must place on the driver for operating certain equipment or vehicles. This rule change is forcing some states to revise some of their current restrictions and codes. These changes carry a July 2015 deadline for states to implement these CDL Restrictions. Below is an excerpt from this law:

The restriction(s) placed on the driver from operating certain equipment or vehicles, if any, indicated as follows:
(i) L for No Air brake equipped CMV;
(ii) Z for No Full air brake equipped CMV;
(iii) E for No Manual transmission equipped CMV;
(iv) O for No Tractor-trailer CMV; (v) M for No Class A passenger vehicle;
(vi) N for No Class A and B passenger vehicle;
(vii) K for Intrastate only;
(viii) V for medical variance; and
(ix) At the discretion of the State, additional codes for additional restrictions, as long as each such restriction code is fully explained on the front or back of the CDL document.
Media Resources for Investigators

The following text appears in the Third Edition of The Manual to Online Public Records (2013, Facts on Demand Press), by Michael Sankey and Cynthia Hetherington.

The media is an often overlooked resource for finding clues to public records and public record trails. Researching 24-hour news outlets, press releases, company announcements, trade journals and magazines is a great way to find many leads. Below are some research sources and tips that should prove helpful.

Journalism
Links to thousands of newspapers, radio and TV stations, magazines, and foreign outlets are found at two excellent web pages: www.editorandpublisher.com and www.newslink.org. A web page specializing in magazine stories is www.highbeam.com. Without a doubt the leading trade association for journalists is the Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. This organization promotes high standards while providing educational services to reporters, editors and others interested in investigative journalism. Visit the IRE web page at www.ire.org. CNN provides a web page to obtain transcripts of broadcasts. Visit transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/.

Back Issues in Print
The United States Book Exchange is a non-profit organization which supplies back issues of scholarly periodicals, trade journals, popular magazines and other serials to libraries worldwide. Visit them at www.usbe.com. Another good resource for finding locations and stores selling back issues of a magazine is presented at www.trussel.com/books/magdeal.htm.

Other Recommended Free Web Resources
Websites that offer free access to news stories usually allow searching by either topic or by location. Here are four sites excellent for investigations.

These sites are organized by topic.
  • NewspaperArchive.com. Use their seven-day free trial to see if this works for you.
  • Google News (news.google.com). Offers current news (within 30 days) and is an excellent source for local news with approximately 4,500 news sources worldwide.
These sites are organized by location.
  • NewsLibrary.com enables a search by location and by available news on a specific topic.
  • ThePaperBoy.com includes national and international locations.
To Our Readers...

This newsletter contain no ads: we simply ask that you support our products and web pages. We do welcome your comments. Please address your comments to Michael Sankey here or call 800-829-7475.

To sign-up to receive this newsletter click here

Our Resources:
Public Record Retriever Network - www.PRRN.us
The CRA Help Desk - www.CRAHelpDesk.com
BRB's Free Public Record Center - www.brbpublications.com/PubRecSites.aspx
Motor Vehicle Record Decoder - www.MVRDecoder.com
BRB's Public Record Blog - www.publicrecordsblog.net
BRB's Bookstore - www.brbpublications.com/books/

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 first obtained from BRB Publications.