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Court rules records of threats against Ohio Governor are not public

GavelThe Ohio Supreme Court has ruled police records involving threats against Ohio Governor, John Kasich can remain sealed. It was deemed that a release of these documents could potentially compromise the Governor’s safety.

Plunderbund Media filed a lawsuit after the Ohio Department of Public Safety declined to provide records disclosing threats against Gov. Kasich. The Ohio Department of Public Safety stated they would not hand over the documents because they were considered security records. These records are not open to the public.

Ohio Supreme court justices agreed in a unanimous decision, stating there is not an explicit legal duty to produce the records and the politically left-leaning blog does not have a clear legal right to receive the documents.

Joseph Mismas, co-owner of Plunderbund had requested the records in August of 2012. He sought information regarding targeted threats made toward the governor and related highway patrol investigations. He argued that it would not be a security risk because the investigations had already been closed.

State officials said it would reveal Kasich’s security detail which posed a direct threat and that the Department of Public Safety was not required to share its information. Justices stated the records involving direct threats pose a security risk and, because of this, are not considered public record.

Victoria Ullmann, a Columbus attorney representing Plunderbund, said it’s outrageous that the records were denied without even taking the time to take a look at what they contained. She continued that this ruling creates a very dangerous precedent because there is no direct knowledge of what is being hidden from public eyes.

The Department of Public Safety declined to comment on the decision and only stated that the ruling speaks for itself.

In a similar suit, the Ohio Republican Party is trying to retrieve records from Cuyahoga County Executive Edward FitzGerald. They are seeking information related to key card usage, establishing when the Democratic gubernatorial candidate was in or out of his office. Cuyahoa county and FitzGerald both say the records are confidential because they too would threaten his safety.

The request by the Republican Party was formally denied in writing by Nora Hurley, the county’s deputy chief law director. Its denial has come as a surprise since the records release for the key card swipes had been allowed and acknowledged as public information for well over a decade. FitzGerald has frequently criticized Kasich for his lack of transparency in the state’s privatized economic agency – JobsOhio.

Lauren Hitt, a campaign spokesperson for FitzGerald said that neither gubernatorial candidate should have their security information released for political gains.

With the recent court ruling, it is believed by many that the Ohio Republican Party’s suit will also be overruled because the cases are so similar.

The Ohio Supreme court said it would not be prudent to suggest that the Kasich ruling means all information that involves criminal activity in or near a public building or concerning a public office or official are secret security records; they must clearly show that the release of records would compromise personal safety.

Nevada group creates petition to close background check loopholes

VoteA statewide petition was launched in Nevada recently for stricter background checks. The measure called the Background Check Initiative would close potentially harmful loopholes in Nevada state law. The measure would seek to help keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, those charged with domestic abuse, and convicted criminals. [Read more...]

Background checks stop the mentally ill from purchasing guns in SC

HandgunSouth Carolina state agents say 136 people have been stopped from buying guns because a background check showed they had been ruled mentally incompetent by a court.

The State Law Enforcement Division said agents have also rescinded 132 concealed weapons permits from those ruled mentally incompetent. [Read more...]

Criminal background check policy results in class action lawsuit

GavelLawyers in Washington, D.C. filed a class-action lawsuit on July 30 against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

The suit, on behalf of nine men, says criminal background screening policies for employees unfairly discriminate against black workers. [Read more...]

Mississippi to decide if gubernatorial pardon includes expungement

Scales of JusticeGovernors don’t hand out many pardons to convicted criminals, especially when their charges involve the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Be that as it may, Governor Haley Barbour granted a pardon to a few dozen individuals in 2012, including one Ms. Rebecca Hentz. [Read more...]

New Alabama law lets you expunge arrest records

Erase CrimeIf you’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime, but were acquitted after the fact or had the charge dismissed, you know how difficult it can be to get a job when you must answer the question, “Have you ever been arrested?” in the affirmative. In Alabama, you’ve always had the option to petition the court for expungement of an arrest, but the courts were inconsistent in how they responded to the requests.

On July 7, 2014, a new law goes into effect with clear guidelines on how you can get your criminal charges expunged. [Read more...]

Does legal marijuana mean more business for DUI defense attorneys?

Police lineWashington State has notified permit holders that they can finally open their retail marijuana stores. There is a required waiting period that lets store owners open 24 hours after they place their orders for product. So, we can expect the first marijuana shops to be opening in the state as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday). [Read more...]

New Jersey bill would give job seekers prior convictions a fair chance

Background Check RequestA bill in New Jersey that provides job seekers who have made past transgressions the opportunity to fare better in the job market just needs the Governor’s signature to become law. It is no secret that for ex-convicts and those with a criminal record, securing stable employment after having been in jail or after committing a crime can be quite difficult. Thanks to the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Sandra Cunningham, ex-convicts looking to better their lives may find their job search much easier. [Read more...]

Nevada has to cope with a whole lot of missing criminal records data

HandcuffsSo, what happens when a study finds that nearly 1,000,000 documents related to criminal records have gone missing? Carson City, Nevada is about to find out. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a recent study found that there have been over 800,000 criminal cases, going back as far as 20 years that various law enforcement outfits failed to properly forward to the state offices tasked with putting them into the public records database. [Read more...]

New York to give children’s organizations access to federal databases

Background Check RequestChildren’s organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, are now pushing for laws in New York City that would allow them better access to criminal background information for potential staffers and employees. Sen. Charles Schumer is the one proposing the legislation, which would allow such organizations to access federal criminal and other databases to fully evaluate the risk of a potential new hire. [Read more...]