Monthly Archives: November 2012

Freedom of Information Act Requests Gets Easier

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Obtaining public information from the federal government just got a lot easier thanks to a new federal website launched on October 1, 2012.

The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public a way to request information from federal agencies. However, each agency has its own independent records system and its own procedures for handling requests for information. Therefore, each agency must be contacted separately, and when necessary, records are transferred manually between agencies causing lengthy delays for the requestor and additional work for the agencies. For someone requesting information, it is hard to know the proper procedure for … Read More

There’s an App for That…

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Yes, it does seem like there’s an app for everything. What about court calendars and other case information? Although some courts don’t have that information online, many do – and a few are providing apps to make that same information available on mobile devices.

There are many apps available to track important cases, mostly U.S. Supreme Court cases. There are also many apps that provide access to state and federal laws and court rules. So far, these are commercial products available at the app store, but neither available from nor sanctioned by court systems.

Some appellate-level courts, such as the … Read More

Sealing Court Records-Preserving Privacy or Preventing Public Access?

Generally speaking, the public has access to all court records except those restricted by federal law, state law, court rule, or court order. If a court record includes personal information about an individual (whether a party to the case, witness, informant, minor, or juror) that is protected by legislative or judicial rule, that information is to be redacted, or that part of the record is to be sealed. Examples of restricted private data, (known as “personal identifiers”) include: full social security numbers, financial or health records, identification of minors or certain crime victims, adoption and probate records, and paternity results. … Read More

Arlington National Cemetery Burial Database Goes Online

The Arlington National Cemetery has launched a new online database that includes over 400,000 burial records. This massive new public database, called ANC Explorer, is now available online and as a mobile application. This search tool and mobile application allows family members and the public to locate a specific gravesite, view photos of a headstone or monument, and receive detailed driving and walking directions to these locations.

Cemetery officials built this database in an effort to verify the accuracy of their records brought into question in 2010 by reports of graves with no headstones, double burials, misidentified graves and other … Read More