The Challenges of Limited Access and How It Affects Turnaround Time
Researchers in San Jose are grappling with increasing barriers that are causing growing headaches and slower turnaround times on court records analysis. Access to records in this court has systematically deteriorated to where it has become a significant problem.
The most obvious consequence of the increasing barriers is slower-than-ever turnaround times on subjects with positive search results.
It Wasn’t Always This Way
Prior to 2003 the only limitation in the San Jose Criminal Court was that researchers could only view up to 5 files per day on demand. In 2003, a criminal record viewing room was installed that consists of a single cubicle with a locked door and seating for six. It was with the advent of this cubicle that the court laid the groundwork for its current record access limitations:
- The former five-file-on-demand limit was retained.
- The number of files that can be ordered for viewing on a subsequent day was limited to twenty-five per day.
- Only four people at a time were to be allowed in the cubicle, even though there is room for six. And only two of those four seats are to be occupied by researchers. The remaining two are reserved for attorneys, private investigators, defendants and other non-researcher public.
- All researchers were limited to one, one hour visit per day in the cubicle.
- All research companies were limited to one researcher per day in the court.
- A schedule was imposed whereby researchers could only view ordered files by appointment made in the prior week.
The local research community reacted by collectively petitioning the court to modify these limitations. As a result the court conceded to the following changes:
- Any researcher who ordered more than 25 files per day could spend up to two hours per day in the cubicle instead of one.
- Each researcher could order up to 50 files per day instead of 25—for a fee of $1 per file after the 25th file.
The above two changes, while onerous enough at times, have nonetheless made it possible for the more competent researchers to successfully cope with their work load for the past couple years.
Recent Changes That Have Made Research More Difficult
Whereas researchers used to be able to spend more than 2 hours in the cubicle—either by arriving early for their appointments, or staying late when the next researcher was late or no-showed, research times are now scheduled exactly by court police. This in effect removed whatever safety valve there was for researchers being able to handle their file pull overloads.
Corporate Screening Working To Get the Court Data That You Need As Quickly As Possible
Short-term, we are working with our research partners to respectfully communicate our complaints to the San Jose court; long-term, we are working to find more custom solutions to the mounting court slows.
We contend with the complexities of each court system on a daily basis in order to provide our clients with the best data in an efficient timeframe. But sometimes delays are out of our control, as individual courts run their records sections differently. San Jose is one example, but it is not the only one. Rest assured that Corporate Screening is constantly working with its research teams on behalf of its clients in order to isolate those courts in which there are inefficiencies, and how we can enact positive change.