Important Alert: Los Angeles County Criminal Delays

February 22, 2024

The Los Angeles Superior Court announced this week that effective 5:00 pm this Friday (February 23, 2024), they will be removing the month and year of birth from the court index search engine (day of birth was previously redacted). This change applies to both the court’s website and the public access terminals at the court.

 

How Does This Impact Me?

If you do criminal background checks in Los Angeles County, beginning Monday February 26th you will begin experiencing significant delays. Additionally, you may not receive some cases that belong to your applicant in the event identifiers are unavailable.

Researchers use the date of birth as one of several identifiers when confirming a record belongs to your applicant. In removing the date of birth filtering, the court has advised that the only way to possibly confirm identity is by requesting and reviewing a copy of the paper file for all name-match cases.

Los Angeles County has twenty-four criminal courts. File requests must be made in the court the case was adjudicated, making the logistics of file requests extremely challenging. Additionally, many cases may already be archived and not available until they can be retrieved from storage.

 

Why is This Happening?

The court stated, “This policy balances the privacy interest of criminal case parties and public access to criminal records.” The broader answer has to do with a case called All of Us or None of Us v. Hamrick, decided in 2021 by the California Court of Appeals, which ruled that an individual’s date of birth and driver’s license number cannot be used to identify criminal records. The following year, Senate Bill 1262 was introduced which would have required courts to return access to identifiers. SB 1262 received full bipartisan support but was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

 

What are the Legal Implications?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs consumer reports (background checks for employment purposes are a type of consumer report), requires organizations performing background checks to have procedures in place that ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information they are reporting. Without access to identifying information to ensure a reported record belongs to the applicant, a background company cannot legally report the record.

 

What Are My Options?

Frasco Profiles cannot provide legal advice and we strongly recommend each employer discuss their circumstances and options with counsel. It is important to consider your risk tolerance, industry specific requirements, and hiring timelines. In reviewing this change, you may wish to consider any of the following to help reduce delays, provide additional coverage, and support the criminal research process:

  • Add a National Criminal Search to your package. The National Criminal Search returns cases that were obtained prior to the redaction of identifiers and can be used to cross reference local cases.
  • Move to a felony only search, which will reduce the number of potential cases and the corresponding turnaround time to request files to confirm identifiers.
  • Add a Motor Vehicle Record request to your orders, which often reports driving related offenses that are misdemeanor and felony level.
  • Discuss criminal history with your applicant after a conditional offer has been made and accepted and provide any reported criminal history to Frasco Profiles for further research.
  • Ask your candidate about unaccounted for time, such as gaps in employment and education timelines.
  • As many court cases are specific to illegal substances, consider adding drug testing to your pre-employment screening process.

 

Where can I lodge a complaint?

The first place to start is with your local representative. As one of their constituents, they want your support and listen to your feedback. Let them know you want them to revisit the provisions of 2022’s SB 1262 and would like to see something similar reintroduced. Also contact Governor Newsom’s office and let them know the impact this will have on your business.

 

Los Angeles Court Contact Information:

  • David Slayton, Executive Officer/Clerk of the Court: (213) 830-0801 (hold to the end of the message to speak with someone)
  • Jim McGlynn, Los Angeles County Director of Criminal Division: jmcglynn@lacourt.org
  • Public Relations/Media: publicinfo@lacourt.org

 

What Happens Next?

Watch for an upcoming mini webinar on criminal research in Los Angeles County where Frasco Profiles will provide an update and overview of all options or reduce the impact to your organization.

 

For more information or to make any changes to your ordering options, please contact Frasco Profiles at (800) 820-9029.

 

Frasco® Profiles is NOT a law firm. The information contained in this post is for general informational purposes only. We are not providing legal advice and strongly recommend consulting your legal resources before taking any action.

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