New Guest Article on employeescreen University: Mike Sankey Discusses Searching for Criminal Records
July 10, 2008
BRB Publications’ founder and CEO Mike Sankey was kind enough to guest author an article on employeescreen University. Mike is regarded a industry expert in public records, criminal record access, state DMV policies and procedures, as well as knowing who’s who in the commercial arena of public information vendors. The title of his article is “Searching for Criminal Records” and Mike provides thorough insight into the different methods used to identify criminal convictions. He also details best practices tips for searching criminal records and defines other methods that lead to less optimal results. See excerpt below.
Criminal records are widely used in the U.S. Nearly everyone who has applied or been hired for a job, or has applied or been issued an accredited license related to an occupation, has probably been the subject of a criminal record search.
The information trail of a criminal record starts with a criminal case tried at one the 10,000+ county, town, and municipal courts, state trial courts, or federal courts. The county, local, and state courts usually forward record information to a centralized state repository controlled by a state law enforcement agency. The centralized state repositories and the federal courts forward records to the FBI.
Criminal records also exist in other repositories. A number of states have unified court systems that collect case record data, usually statewide. Other criminal-related record sources are prison systems, sexual predator lists, federal government sanction and watch lists, and vendor databases.
There are a lot of misconceptions about searching criminal records in the U.S. These misconceptions can be traced to a lack of understanding about two key factors that affect criminal record searching–
- Criminal Records Are Not All Created Equal.
- Criminal Records Are Not Always Open to the Public.
This chapter [article] examines the reasons why criminal records are not created equal, when criminal records may be incomplete or “full of holes,” the pros and cons of searching different repositories including the so-called national databases, and legal issues affecting how records are searched and reported.