It has been our experience that the most common misconception about the Criminal Research Provider process is that there is some sort of governing body within the court system that regulates the guidelines and practices for in-court research. In most states, the individual courthouses create their own policies regarding how access to the public index is administered. Each court having its own nuanced set of guidelines makes educating clients an ongoing process and changes can happen with little to no notice.
The steady development and implementation of new technologies has had the largest effect on every aspect of the Provider experience. In the early 2000s, vendors were limited to bringing paper search lists to the court and generally submitted results via fax. In 2021, tablets and laptops are the most common and secure way to manage the day’s work (as long as electronics are permitted to be brought into the courthouse). Modern practice is to process results through integrations between software platforms and proprietary APIs, allowing for dramatically reduced turn-around from the time a request is received and when it is returned. The future is trending even further toward complete automation when managing and submitting completed searches. That’s the good developments. On a less exciting note, as more courts update their computerized indexes we are seeing an increase in the redactions of personal identifying information, making it significantly more difficult to confirm that a record matches the requested subject. This trend of limiting the amount of PII available to the public should be anticipated as a potential future challenge to our industry.
I’ll omit the obvious complications that COVID-19 has presented in terms of court access because this has been well documented, and will (knock on every piece of wood) be remedied in the not-so-distant future. Instead, I will acknowledge the somewhat paradoxical relationship that court researchers often have with clerks. As regulars at the courthouse our requests for file pulls, record questions, and sometimes even the need for general assistance is often deprioritized because “there’s always tomorrow.” This creates a delicate dynamic between vendors and courthouse staff and it can quickly become problematic if an applicant or CRA tries to circumnavigate the established process.
County House Research’s company culture is based on the principles of honesty, adaptability, and accountability. We regularly use the phrase “it’s our search too” to describe our philosophy when it comes to our approach at the courts and with our clients. We understand the services we provide enable companies to make informed hiring decisions, and this is a responsibility that is taken very seriously.
As stated above, the lack of regulation in terms of researcher/vendor/furnisher rights is a consistent pain point. Providers would love to participate in any initiatives that would classify researchers as something other than me
We wish all our clients and colleagues a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Please take a moment to watch our video for some holiday cheer from the folks at CHR.
Courts and County House Research offices will be closed this Friday, December 25 for Christmas and on Friday, January 1, 2021, for New Year’s Day.
County House Research has been granted renewed access to the PROMIS/Gavel system by NJ Courts. CHR resumed processing requests in New Jersey effective Thursday, July 30. Clients can rest easy that this is the exact same system used previously. All requests previously submitted will be completed as soon as possible in the order they were received. Due to new court access fees, starting August 1, 2020, requests will be subject to a $3.50 surcharge. The surcharge reflects a best estimate at this time. Because of the newness of the system and the potential volatility in court access fees, the surcharge is subject to change. Our New Jersey research team will be monitoring the system closely over the next weeks to ensure that fees remain consistent with access costs.
County House Research is delighted to once again offer New Jersey service to our clients. Our more than 10 years of experience with the PROMIS/Gavel system offers clients tremendous added value. That means that clients can continue to rely on CHR for timely and accurate results, as well as our legendary customer service. We look forward to our continued partnership in New Jersey and any other jurisdictions we cover.
For questions or to request service, please contact our Director of Client Services, Prissy Hamilton, at (215) 717-7433, x.25, or email her at email@example.com.
We wish all our clients and industry colleagues good health.
County House Research, Inc.
Promising news out of Massachusetts. The Supreme Judicial Court has announced that starting July 13 courthouses will physically reopen for limited purposes. While it is unclear exactly how this will apply to criminal record checks, it is a step in the direction of pre-COVID 19 access.
According to the announcement, non-emergency business will continue to be conducted virtually unless it “can be done only in-person.” Persons accessing the courthouses will be monitored for signs of illness and subject to health and safety occupancy limits. Courthouses may at their discretion install drop-boxes for hand-delivered requests and pleadings. Courts may offer additional means of access but have not yet announced what those might be. Barring any changes, in-person access will be expanded further on August 10. In the meantime, County House Research continues to work with court officials and other resources on the ground to secure and maintain access to various jurisdictions. We are also working with the PBSA to restore full access to public records.
As we have done throughout our more than 20 years of service to the background screening industry County House Research remains dedicated to being a reliable partner to our clients. We will update you as soon as new information becomes available.
If you have questions or concerns or need information on any jurisdictions that we serve, please contact our Director of Client Services, Prissy Hamilton, at (215) 717-7433, x.25, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you good health during this challenging time.
County House Research, Inc.
The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (PennDOT) has reopened and is now accepting requests. PennDOT has announced new procedures to maintain social distancing. The restrictions include limiting the number of couriers that can enter the service center at any one time. Our couriers have tested the system and the new procedures are working efficiently. CHR team members on the ground are able to drop off and pick up requests. PennDOT is continuing to work through its backlog of requests but this does not seem to be a problem at this time. The health and safety of our CHR team members are top priorities. We have equipped staff with protective equipment to meet or exceed PennDOT’s requirements.
As we have throughout this crisis, we will continue to use our close contact with court officials and other resources to keep you updated on all developments.
If you have questions about CHR’s PA Driver History Courier Service or any of our other services, please contact our Director of Client Services, Prissy Hamilton, at (215) 717-7433, x.25, or email her at email@example.com. Please see our COVID-19 resources page for the latest information: countyhouseresearch.com/covid-19.
We wish all our clients and industry colleagues good health and safety during this challenging time.
County House Research, Inc.