Tag Archives: public records

The Shrinking Pool of Public Information

The Shrinking Pool of Public Information.
 
Today I went down the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Warrants Office to learn if there were any outstanding warrants for particular individual. I was politely told by the clerk that I could only have the information if I was the person in question or accompanied by the person in question.
 
Meanwhile in Tuolomne County, not only is that kind of information readily accessible by the public, it is available on line with mugshots.
 
What is it that the Sacramento County Sheriff hopes to accomplish by severely limiting this kind of information?

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It can happen anywhere.

Throughout the Leila Fowler murder investigation and trial, the prosecution relied heavily on the fact that no one saw anyone go into or away from the Fowler house on the morning of Leila’s murder.  No one heard any screams either.  Therefore, Isiah Fowler (the only person known to have been in the house at the same time) must be guilty.  His story of an intruder killing his sister must be false.  No one could get into and out of the house without being seen.

WRONG

For example, on Saturday February 13, 2016 Lodi, CA police were called to a house in a tightly spaced development on the 2300 block of Woodlake Circle, after a relative found the body of 74 year Dorothy Wiederrich.  Ms. Wiederrich was stabbed to death.  Neighbors did not call the police because they didn’t see or hear anything.  Someone got in, brutally killed this woman and then escaped and no one saw or heard a thing.

It happened in Valley Springs, CA.  It just happened in Lodi, CA.

It can happen anywhere.

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Public Access is being limited in Sacramento County

Sacramento County is now following a trend of the many other counties (most notably Los Angeles County) and effective July 1, 2014 it will charge for access to on-line court records.  I expect that the same will shortly be true for the County Recorder’s records as well.

You can go to https://services.saccourt.ca.gov/ for the specifics involved in researching what was once freely available access to public records.  In the meantime here is a copy from the Court’s web site regarding what you can expect to pay.

A public access fee will be charged when searching for cases by name. In order to conduct a name search, you must first create an account then purchase the desired number of name searches. The fees are as follows:

  • $1.00 for one (1) name search
  • $3.50 for five (5) name searches
  • $25.00 for 75 name searches
  • $250.00 for 30 consecutive days of unlimited name searches
  • $2,500.00 for 365 consecutive days of unlimited name searches

There are no refunds for unused name search credits. Name search credits do not expire, with the exception of the 30- and 365-day name search options.

Happy hunting!

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Your internet activity

What goes on in process of mining of data.  Yahoo Chief Marissa Mayer discusses her concerns about going to prison should she decide to defy NSA requests for data.

http://news.yahoo.com/yahoo-ceo-fears-defying-nsa-could-mean-prison-013254457.html

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September 12, 2013 · 11:55 AM

My Next Class at the Learning Exchange

My next class on how to search for just about anything on anybody is at the Learning Exchange located at 1111 Howe Ave., Sacramento, CA next Thursday night, 9/19 at 6:30 PM.

Whether you want to do your own background search, find an old friend or a long lost relative or something else I’m sure the class will give you new insights.  You can find all the information you need a this link, http://learningexchange.com/index.cfm?method=ClassInfo.ClassInformation&int_class_id=45091&int_category_id=0&int_sub_category_id=0&int_catalog_id=0

I look forward to seeing you there.

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Stuff I sometimes wish I had, but I’m glad I don’t.

The Huffington Post reports in this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/dea-surveillance-cover-up_n_3706207.html?ir=Politics&utm_campaign=080513&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-politics&utm_content=Title that the DEA has a Special Operations Division (SOD) that collects tons of information into a database of roughly one billion items to establish and share tips and evidence among other agencies, including the NSA.  Read the article to get all the details because on summary on my part will not do it justice.

One of the things the article discusses is the creation of “parallel construction.”  According to the article,

“It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants. 

Burying the source of evidence means that defendants may not be able to investigate its veracity.  If the source is an informant, a defendant cannot delve into the motivation of the informant.  I can tell you that from the standpoint of someone working on the defense side of things this can be a real problem.

There are many days when I wish I could access phone records with just a few key strokes.  However, I can get something through public records, a witness volunteering information or the issuance of a subpoena, I can’t violate someone’s rights and when you score that tidbit of information that has meaning in a case you get a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

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Another hearing in the Leila Fowler case.

We were back in court today for a procedural hearing regarding a future trial date in the Leila Fowler murder case.  The defense attorneys, Steve Plesser and Mark Reichel explain the status of the case in this clip from KCRA TV in Sacramento.  http://www.kcra.com/Brother-of-Leila-Fowler-appears-in-court-for-short-hearing/-/11798090/21271678/-/f143tt/-/index.html#.UfnQFHnqTEU.facebook

Much of the physical evidence has yet to be processed in this case and we have received almost nothing from the work conducted by the F.B.I.  Included in that work is the sketch of a suspect seen near the Fowler’s home on the morning of the murder. 

Things just don’t move as quickly as they do in a 60 minute TV show. 

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