[NR] Re: Facts

Decker, Terry D. TerryD at Health.State.OK.US
Wed May 23 13:10:42 PDT 2001

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation will provide a criminal history
record checks for a filled in form and $15 in just about any shape except
personal check.  A signed release is not required.  While the service is
meant primarily for employee record checks, it is open to anyone.

The key to this the Oklahoma Open Records Act, Title 51 OS 24a.1-24, which
was amended a few years ago to permit anyone to access criminal histories.
The DOC connection is a little more convoluted.

An outfit called Transportation Information Services, Inc. requested of the
Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections the criminal histories of all inmates for the
past 7 years in magnetic tape format.  DOC contended that all criminal
history checks needed to be made through the OSBI and that not doing so on
an individual basis would result in the loss of some $700,000 in revenue to
the state.  The DOC lost in the original suit, on appeal and in the Oklahoma
Supreme Court.  A ruling on October 27, 1998 required the DOC to provide the
information and that it did not have to be requested on an individual basis.

The citation is Transportation Information Services, Inc., d/b/a DAC
Services v. State of Oklahoma ex rel. Oklahoma Department of Corrections,
1998 WL 761703, 1998 OK 108.

Since it is legal in Oklahoma for anyone to check criminal records and since
the Supreme Court decision basically directs the DOC to provide those
records to any organization which asks for them.  While the advisability of
the legislation and the court decisions is open to question, they exist and
it makes perfect sense for the DOC to provide general public access to the
information specified in the lawsuit to avoid further actions.

BTW,if I understand the law correctly, the Open Records Act applies to all
government documents except those of the judiciary and the legislature and
documents and information exempted by state and federal statute.


> This is, I believe, because, if you have committed a crime,
> it's part of the *public record*, but that's
> an opinion.  Perhaps if we are going to be declaring things
> to be "illegal" or not, we wait until
> we contact the ODC and ask why the database is so easy to
> access.  If it's supposed to be
> "illegal" (in Oklahoma), then maybe they've made an error in
> their security.
> Marc/Diarmaid

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