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Public Record Update Newsletter © March 2010
Public Record Update
March, 2010

Cumberland County Maine Courts

In Cumberland County Maine, effective April 1, 2010 the Civil Division of the Portland District Court will merge into the Civil Division of the Cumberland County Superior Court. The consolidation procedure will be similar to the criminal court consildation that took place in 2009.

 

The record databases will be combined. For example, after the consolidation a request for a civil record search in the Cumberland County Superior Court will include a search of the Portland Disctrict Court records.


Arizona Driving Record Fees to Increase

A $1.75 portal fee increase for the electronic access of driving records from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division is scheduled to take place effective May 1, 2010.

 

The Motor Vehicle Record Request System (MVRRS) is a web-based application used by commercial and government entities contracted with AZ MVD to electronically request records. Certified and uncertified driving records can be obtained in the interactive or batch mode. Interactive requests are returned in seconds, batch requests are processed within two hours. Interactive records have a fee of $3.00 (39-month) and $5.00 (5-year) plus a $1.25 portal fee per record which will increase to $3.00 per record effective April 1.  An NRF is $3.00. The fee for batch records is $2.00 (39-month) and $3.00 (5-year) plus the portal fee of $1.25 per record which increases to $3.00 per record effective May 1.  

 

The MVRRS system also is the access point for vehicle title and registration records. At this time it is assumed that the portal fee for vehicle records will also increase, but that fact cannot confirmed. As of today 03/24, the price increase details are not yet available to the entities that run the programs.

 

For more information about MVRRS, contact the Electronic Data Services Unit by email at eds@azdot.gov or call 602-712-7235.


Diploma Mills Displayed on LinkedIn

At a recent trade show, I sat through a presentation by Jason Morris of EmployeeScreenIQ that demonstrated how many professionals are touting their education credentials. If you are a member of the professional network service LinkedIn, you can easily perform this simple exercise. Go to the Advanced People Search at www.linkedin.com/search. Enter Almeda in the college box, and click on search. You will see a list of people or connections who are touting their degrees from Almeda.

 

The problem is Almeda is a Diploma Mill.

 

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary describes a Diploma Mill as:

 a usually unregulated institution of higher education granting degrees with few or no academic requirements 

A Diploma Mill issues a paper diploma paid for by the student and the student performs little or no actual study. Some schools, such as Almeda, offer degrees based on life experiences. There are some diploma mill factories that even provide a phone number or email address for students to submit to employers or employment screeners to use for verification. This contact point leads to a bogus registrar's office with a very convincing, fake registrar who will confirm the school's existence and even get uppity if you suggest there is fraud.

 

The fact that Almeda is a diploma mill has been substantiated by Accredibase (www.accredibase.com) which maintains the leading global database of unrecognized institutions as well as accrediting bodies. A free report on diploma mills including statistics from around the world can be downloaded from www.accredibase.com/report.

 

Further, the State of Oregon's Office of Degree Verification webpage at www.osac.state.or.us/oda/unaccredited.aspx has this to say about Almeda College (University):

Closed by legal action in Florida but may still be operating there. Operating illegally in Idaho. Degree mill. Also uses name Almeda International University. 

 

Also, Almeda is listed as a Diploma Mill in BRB's database of colleges and universities.

 

By the way, the first page on my LinkedIn list with Almeda "degrees" includes a corporate security director, a security consultant, a VP of Human Resources, an employee of one of the nation's largest public record vendors, and a chapter chairman of ASIS.

 

 


Cutbacks at Los Angeles County Courts Affecting Record Access

To help alleviate a budget crisis, the Los Angeles Superior Court announced in a March 16th press release a layoff or 329 employees and closure of 17 of the 580 courtrooms in the county. The press release also indicates as many as 50 courtrooms could be closed as of September 2010. The courtrooms eliminated include courtrooms handling criminal, family law, general civil, limited civil, complex litigation and small claims cases. These closures and staff cutbacks are affecting public record research and retrieval. One of the courtroom closures is at the main record center known as the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The 5th floor is closed and all record research and docket retrieval must now be performed on the 2nd floor, which currently is being overwhelmed by research companies. The 2nd floor clerk's office allows research companies to drop off name lists, but turnaround time can take from four to ten business days.

 

Those Superior Courts which process name searches and file requests are now limiting record searches to five names per person per day. Reportedly the court in Downey and East LA have even more limitations with a strict rule of five names per research company per day, and East LA requires all names to be dropped off.  

 

According to RJI, Inc., a well-known record research company in the Los Angeles area, only 17 courts throughout the county are assisting research firms with name searches.  But with staff shortages and future layoffs, for what was once same day or overnight service could eventually become a 2 week process. Also according to RJI, the county is considering shutting down several Superior Court courthouses this summer.

 

The Los Angeles County Superior Court does offer online access to the court record index, but the lag time of new cases is 5 to 10 days when compared to onsite searches, and file retrieval to confirm identities and case dispositions can be greatly lengthened.  The question has been raised if the online search is FCRA compliant per the requirement using the most up-to-date jurisdictional resource.

 

To view the press release, visit:

 www.lasuperiorcourt.org/courtnews/Uploads/14201031611505110NRfinalLayoffMarch2010_1.htm


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