Los Angeles County Criminal Court Update

March 8, 2024

As a reminder, on Friday, February 23, 2024, the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles, Criminal Division, removed access to Date of Birth from all public facing index systems. Date of Birth is used to ensure criminal convictions provided in a consumer report for employment purposes belong to your applicant or employee. Organizations providing background checks to employers are legally required to ensure the information reported is accurate and complete, including ensuring records listed in a background report belong to the subject of the report.

This change was made with less than 72 hours’ notice and since that time various courts within the LA Criminal Division have managed access to these identifiers in very different ways, making criminal research in Los Angeles extremely challenging and causing significant delays.

 

What you need to know:

  1. There are twenty-four courts in the Los Angeles County Criminal Court system
  2. Court Clerks are being prohibited from confirming a Date of Birth match on a case, even if they are provided the case number, the subject’s name, and the full Date of Birth
  3. All courts are requiring researchers to request original paper files to either view at the counter, or take to a viewing area in the Clerk’s Office
    • Original paper files typically contain identifiers, such as Date of Birth
    • Original paper files are only available at the court where the case was adjudicated
    • Individuals can have cases located in multiple courts
    • All courts are limiting original file requests to 5 per day per person
  4. At least one court (Inglewood) appears to be redacting identifiers from the original paper files before providing them to the researcher, rendering them useless for identity matching
  5. An applicant with a common name in Los Angeles can have as many as 500 or more name match cases that need to be reviewed for matching identifiers (again with a limit of 5 file requests per day)

 

What this means to you as an employer:

  • Lengthy delays on criminal backgrounds in Los Angeles, especially for common names as they result in many more cases to request
  • Possibility of cases that belong to your applicant / employee not being reported due to an inability to confirm an identity match
  • This new court policy applies to everyone, background providers, licensed private investigators, and attorneys who are representing parties to a case

 

What can you do?

  • Contact the court administrators, your local representatives, local news outlets, Governor Newsom’s office (https://www.gov.ca.gov/contact/) and tell your story on how this is impacting your business, your customers, and public safety
  • Contact your industry trade association and get them engaged
    • This is especially important for employers who are legally required to complete criminal background checks prior to onboarding employees

 

What is Frasco® Profiles doing?

Frasco® Profiles is actively involved with the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and holds a position on the Board of Directors.  PBSA is in dialogue with the Los Angeles Criminal Court administrators and actively seeking a solution.  Based on initial conversations, it appears that any solution acceptable to the courts will likely require litigation or a legislative change and will be a prolonged process.

Frasco® Profiles is taking reasonable steps to balance the need for access to criminal history information with the right to privacy and the reality that it is not possible to pursue 500+ name match cases on numerous individuals per day.  Because of this, Frasco is updating the search scope in Los Angeles County and is in communications with clients directly.

 

Should you have any questions regarding the changes in Los Angeles, please contact Customer Service at (800) 820-9029 or by email at info@frasco.com.

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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