A Three-Dimensional Solution for Combating DOB Redactions in Court Research

Court research is complex. With recent DOB redactions, it’s now more complex, time-consuming, and costly. These challenges need a multi-dimensional solution.

The redaction of personally identifiable information (PII) during the background screening process, particularly a candidate’s date of birth, is not a new challenge in the court research industry. This has been an ongoing obstacle for years, and many states, such as Virginia, South Carolina, and Michigan, have adopted some kind of PII redaction legislation. But what is happening in California, specifically L.A. County, is different. California has its own set of unique challenges that makes its recent DOB redaction ruling even more difficult to overcome. 

While the solution outlined below is specific to L.A. County, California, Equifax Workforce Solutions (EWS) provides court solutions nationwide that help CRAs drive efficiency and cost savings. In the case of L.A. County, EWS has designed a multi-dimensional solution that makes the court research processes more efficient to help CRAs get the information they need when they need it, which in turn empowers employers to make more informed decisions as quickly as possible.

Understanding DOB redaction in California

In May 2021, DOB redactions in California started with the court ruling of All of Us or None vs Hamrick. Multiple jurisdictions adopted this change, which caused significant complications in court research processing in the state. In September 2022, there was a glimmer of hope for CRAs through the California Senate Bill 1262, which would help stop delays in background checks for job applicants by allowing access to PII in court records. But by the end of that month, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill, sending CRAs back to square one.

Before the DOB redaction ruling, California was already a challenging state in which to conduct court research. It costs more to process records than in other states, and turnaround times are longer than in other jurisdictions. When added to existing national challenges of inflation and labor shortages, DOB redaction is putting CRAs at a severe disadvantage in processing court records for their customers. 

With more and more counties in California moving to redact PII from court records, the consequences are numerous: Court research is yielding less reliable background checks, there are even longer turnaround times which cause delays in hiring, and it is much more costly to send court runners to obtain case copies in person. To combat these multi-dimensional issues, a multi-dimensional solution is crucial.

Enlisting a multi-dimensional solution to get better results faster and cheaper

There is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to DOB redaction challenges, so to combat the issues related to costs, reliability, delays, and extended turnaround times, EWS has created a three-dimensional solution for the issues specific to L.A. County, CA, that focuses on the following:

  • Smarter use of court record retrieval automation featuring Statute Code Translation: 

    By way of Synaptec™, our automated court record retrieval technology, there is already automation in many California counties, but with the growing challenges there is opportunity to expand and improve. Previously, when using the Synaptec search function, the site would only report back the statute code with no additional information. With Statute Code Translation enhancements to Synaptec searches, the automation provides more vital information from the source, like charge levels and descriptions and offense level details. This additional information allows for faster and more reliable hits and clears, helping the CRA determine whether it makes sense to send a runner to the courthouse. 

    Anytime quick, reliable hits and clears can get back to CRAs, the better to help your customers get to a point where they can make faster, more informed decisions.

  • Expanding court operations with on-site case ID page view and DOB confirmation

    Courthouse clerks will not verify DOBs, so more often than not, CRAs are obligated to obtain case copies, which can take weeks and be very costly, or they have to validate themselves by doing additional research, which takes more time. 

    EWS has strengthened on-site services allowing for more volume and capacity for case copy processing and calling courts directly, which ends up saving both time and money. 

  • CourtSmart

    CourtSmart™ is the newest CDaaS (Court Data as a Service) solution that uses information from TotalVerify’s proprietary, non-reportable data to increase confidence in results to help minimize potential disputes and reduce costs from not having to send on-site runners.

    To add to the benefit of this new solution, CourtSmart is not only used to inform decisions about conducting additional court research, it can also help minimize the background check challenges associated with common names if a CRA requests. CourtSmart offers another level of detail to research findings, so CRAs can help their customers make more informed decisions. 

Court research doesn’t have to be a complex process anymore

The decision to redact PII from court records was deployed to keep people and data safe, but the court research industry was already designed to protect individuals, the public, and organizations. With the significant challenges brought on by court record DOB redactions, a single path forward could never be enough. The three-dimensional solution that the EWS team has created was specifically designed to combat L.A. County DOB redaction challenges. But as more states require innovative and cost-saving solutions, EWS can provide tailored solutions based on your request in order to aid in your state’s court research needs. Our CourtSmart solution is expanding well beyond L.A. County. It is currently available in 36 of the 58 counties in California, as well as Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia, with more expansions to come. We know our court research solutions will be able to give you the results you and your customers need in less time and with less money. 

To learn more about these and other solutions, contact us today! To learn more about data redaction, be sure to check out our recent court research webinar.

The information provided is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey any tax, benefits, or legal advice. For information pertaining to your company and its specific facts and needs, please consult your own tax advisor or legal counsel. Links to sources may be to third party sites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.