Local News

State Office Of Courts, Private Background Companies Reach Agreement

Posted January 7, 2004

— The agency that runs North Carolina's courts said it reached an agreement with private companies that resell information on criminal cases to make sure these companies operate appropriately.

When a company plans to hire someone, they might use a service like Carolina Investigative Research that provides everything from a person's credit history and driving record to that person's criminal past.

"You know you can't second-guess what a person is going to do, but you can by delving into their background," said Ann Lane of Carolina Investigative Research.

While Carolina Investigative Research is used mainly by employers, other online companies sell their information to attorneys, private investigators and the general public. However, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the agency that runs N.C. courts, had threatened to stop selling its compilation of criminal records because some of the companies were not updating their systems every day like they are supposed to.

"I think we have an obligation to the people of North Carolina to make sure that the data we hold and the data we sell is used and managed appropriately," said Clif Layman, of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

"Once a person gets their record expunged, I don't even want to know they had a record," Lane said.

Lane said she updates her database constantly and the Administrative Office of the Courts said all of the companies must do the same or else they will not get the information at all.

The Administrative Office of the Courts said it will consider stiffer penalties for companies that do not update their database. The Administrative Office of the Courts will also work to improve the way it sends out updated information.

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