CA and MI Public Record/Court Access Information

State of Michigan 

 

MICHIGAN CLEAN SLATE IMPLEMENTATION AND RECORD SYSTEM UPDATE CREATE TEMPORARY DELAYS

 

9/21/23 Update. We continue to engage with Michigan SCAO to lessen the impact of the recently enacted Clean Slate Law on our searches in Michigan courts. There are still a handful of courts that are limiting the number of years back they will do searches for us. 

A bit of good news: the funding to comply with Clean Slate mentioned below has been extended to 11/30. This will give Michigan courts that have not applied for funding the ability to pay for staff time to expunge Clean Slate records. 

Already we have heard from our researchers that things are much better with this funding since the initial rollout of the Clean Slate law. We continue to urge patience as this law continues to be implemented in all the Michigan courts.

Due to the implementation of Michigan's Clean Slate Act, as well as a statewide court record system upgrade, screeners are seeing temporary blocks and delays to record access.  While we have seen continuous improvements, we are seeing backlogs in most Michigan courts. We will continue to update as access improves.  PBSA Members can access the most up-to-date Michigan access changes in the Community Forum HERE.

At the moment, there are a number of courts that are not willing or able to process searches, while others vary in how they process requests.  These variations can include a limit on the number of requests the court allows, a limit on the number of years into the past that records can be accessed, or other similar constraints. 

These constraints affect ALL SEARCHES in the jurisdiction experiencing limitations, so regulated positions requiring a specific criminal history look-back may not be compliant at this time.

Many of these hindrances are a result of these courts vetting records to fully comply with the Michigan Clean Slate Act as well as the new statewide court record system coming online and are NOT permanent limits.  We fully expect these "growing pains" in the Michigan Courts to subside soon and urge your patience as this process takes place, resulting in more efficient access to Michigan court records once the necessary updates are complete.

With the Michigan SCAO having provided additional funding for court staff time to update Clean slate records (2023-05-12 Memo RE Automatic Clean Slate Overtime-Temporary Staffing Reimbursement (michigan.gov)), we have seen the courts refusing to do searches or limit the number of years of records go dramatically down. Currently, there are just 2-3 courts that are giving us limited record information. We have reported those to the appropriate Michigan Regional court administrators. We anticipate those laggard courts will quickly catch up to the rest of the state.

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Michigan SCAO Continues to Accept Registrations from Individuals/Researchers

Michigan court researchers will use this registration site to enter the required information which will then be referenced by courts in Michigan. This will determine which users are authorized to obtain access to identifiers when searching records.


How to Register: 

Click on the link below and provide the required information:
Consent Verification Registration (michigan.gov)

A list of authorized individuals that have successfully completed the registration process has been published here: List of Authorized Individuals (michigan.gov)

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Updated FAQ on Working with Michigan Courts on DOB Verification Released:

On April 1, 2022, per negotiated ADM File 2017-28 that amended Michigan Court Rule 1.109, the Michigan State Court registration site went live. This opened the door for authorized individuals/entities to register with the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) and be able to access identifiers in all Michigan courts. 

Since April 1, most courts in Michigan have been working with PBSA member researchers in to verify ID and DOB. There have, however, been a few instances of courts implementing policies that have slowed down the ID verification process. For example, some courts have required that researchers continue to show up in person when verifying ID. Others have limited the number of verifications they can do per researcher/per day. Thankfully, the Michigan SCAO has taken PBSA feedback to streamline the process of DOB verifications. PBSA has continually updated SCAO on the issues our members have encountered in some of the Michigan courts. 

On April 19, the SCAO released an updated and helpful FAQ that addresses some of our feedback. The FAQ can be found online here.

A couple of items that we can highlight from this revised FAQ are:

  • Michigan courts should not require “Authorized Individuals” to physically appear at the courthouse and present their Identification to obtain court records (pg. 5). This can be done by fax or email. This is especially beneficial in remote counties. 
  • “Authorized Individuals” can provide a redacted version of their own driver’s license or other official ID to a court official in order to be matched to the List of Authorized Individuals (pg. 6). 
  • Courts cannot charge for a record check, but they can charge for a reproduction fee, or copy fee, for a document pursuant to MCL 600.1988, except when a local law or court rule prohibits this charge (pg 6). A court may only change for the cost of labor and supplies, and the actual use of the system to reproduce the document. This per page fee is established in each court’s Access to Records local order. Courts should not be charging for the cost to purchase or maintain their records system or technology used to store, retrieve, and reproduce the document (MCR 8.119(J)(2) and (4).

NEXT STEPS
Local courts may continue to implement local policies that could slow down the ID verification process. We ask our members to bring up their concerns to court officials in a firm but gentle manner. If no resolution occurs, please contact the PBSA Government Relations Team who can bring our concerns to the policymakers in the Michigan SCAO.

We anticipate that the FAQ above will be further updated as further clarifications are needed to ensure that all Michigan courts follow ADM File 2017-28.

We encourage you to follow the issue on the PBSA Government Relations Forum or reach out to GR staff: Jose Dimas or Brent Smoyer.

 

Leading the Way.

 

PBSA and CDIA ARE USING THEIR COLLECTIVE INDUSTRY VOICES TO PROTECT YOU.
Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) are leading the effort to overturn the Michigan DOB Redaction rule.  
 


Melissa Sorenson, Executive Director
melissa.sorenson@thepbsa.org

Brent Smoyer, JD, PBSA State Government Relations & Grassroots Director
brent.smoyer@thepbsa.org

Jose Dimas, PBSA Government Relations Director of Public Records Access
                                       jose.dimas@thepbsa.org


Eric J. Ellman, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs
eellman@cdiaonline.org


 


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