IMPORTANT UPDATE: Redaction of Information within California Court Records

A-Check Global continues to follow and participate in efforts related to a California ruling to remove date of birth from public records, and we wanted to take just a moment to keep you updated on recent progress surrounding this issue.

As you know, background check companies—like A-Check Global—rely on searching public indexes for criminal record information in California courts. While a 2021 lawsuit (All of Us or None, v. Hamrick) was brought against the Riverside Superior Court only, the court of appeal’s ruling impacted the majority of California state courts, because the court’s ruling was based on a statewide law: California Rules of Court, rule 2.507.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA)—an important, non-profit organization established to represent Consumer Reporting Agencies offering employment background screening services—continues to vigorously advocate to retain the DOB within California County court records as a critical identifier in accurate, comprehensive background screening. Here’s a quick look at recent developments.

California Judicial Council
In 2021, PBSA made a rules change request to the California Judicial Council requesting clarification that Rule 2.507 allow for the use of date of birth and driver’s license as a search term, or filter to the results returned. PBSA’s request was denied by the Judicial Council in December of 2021.

On February 11, 2022 the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) filed a follow-up request to the Judicial Rules Council to again consider clarification to rule 2.507. CDIA and PBSA have engaged a group of allied associations and organizations and are requesting that they submit letters to the Judicial Council in support of CDIA’s request. The hope is that with this new request, and now that redaction has been implemented in LA County, the Judicial Council will recognize the impact of this issue.

California Legislation
On February 17, 2022, California Senate Bill 1262 was introduced by Senator Bradford. If passed, this bill would require publicly accessible electronic indexes of defendants in criminal cases to permit searches and filtering of results based on a defendant’s driver’s license number or date of birth, or both. Of course, next steps would include working with partner organizations and associations to support this bill through committee and ultimately a vote.

Litigation
PBSA has prepared motions to intervene as a plaintiff in current Sonoma and Merced lawsuits—the goal being to file a cross-complaint against the courts to maintain the status quo and leave the date of birth search fields accessible within indexes on the court websites. PBSA anticipates this effort will be a very long process, lasting throughout 2022 and likely into 2023. They also anticipate there may be additional lawsuits in other California counties throughout 2022, which PBSA will monitor closely.

Here at A-Check, please know that we have not relaxed our standard processes for criminal record searches. Prior to presenting permissible results to our clients, we still require 3 identifiers to authenticate the identity of search information. In spite of challenges we face throughout numerous counties within California, we will continue to serve our valued clients to the best of our ability.

We’re here to help answer any questions you may have.

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