The fallacy is that NYS OCA (New York State Office of Court Administration) will not be giving results regarding a misdemeanor from more than ten years ago if it was the only criminal conviction that person had in the last ten years.
Reality is that the NYS OCA may not be giving you all the criminal record information you should get because the same person can have multiple convictions under different variations of their name, and thus, NYS OCA applies the misdemeanor redemption policy to each name and date of birth variation.
In reality, they apply the misdemeanor redemption policy to the name and date of birth, not the person. To run a search with the NYS OCA you must give them the exact first name, exact last name, and exact date of birth. Each variation requires a new search and another $95.00.
Also, the reality is that the misdemeanor redemption policy is not guided by the law but by NYS OCA internal policy.
Why is this important now? Because more and more we are seeing name variations leading to missed records or records wrongly suppressed under the misdemeanor redemption policy.
So, let’s look at what the NYS OCA says its policy is: “As of April 1, 2014, the NYS Office of Court Administration’s Criminal History Record Report (CHRS) will no longer report a criminal history for any individual whose only conviction was a single misdemeanor more than ten (10) years prior to the date of request.”
It is important to note that this is the policy of the NYS OCA, not the individual courts. So, you can get the information by circumventing the NYS OCA and going directly to the courts. Which is what CI does for its clients with the help of our Cursory Indicator New York inquiry.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is a list of 20 convictions that are reportable by the NYS OCA regardless of the misdemeanor redemption policy.
It is the antiquated NYS OCA interface and searching parameters that lead to the underlying problem here. Most companies do not realize that the personal identifying information searched on needs to be entered exactly as the OCA record to result in a hit, including a suffix a person uses. There is no fuzzy logic in the NYS OCA search engine. So, Due Diligence and his DOB of 01/01/1970 needs to be entered exactly like that to get his records. But you will only get the records that match that exactly. So, if the court clerk recorded the DOB as 01/10/1970 you would not get that record. Or, say for Duey Diligence, legal name of Due Diligence JR, if you do not enter the JR in the search information you will not get his records with JR attached. Instead of entering no suffix and getting both with and without a suffix you only get those records with the suffix and should enter your search parameters with the suffix as your default searching scheme, per OCA recommendations.
Per the OCA, “If you run the name with a suffix you would get most of the cases that are available but there are times depending on the court of jurisdiction where including the suffix does not populate all of the arrests.”
So, that leads me to conclude you need to run both variations, with and without the suffix, to truely get thorough results. However, in the same NYS OCA response, they indicated, “It’s always better the submit the request with a suffix if you believe the defendant has one.” We were unable to get further clarification from NYS OCA before publishing this article.
So, what does this all mean? Caveat emptor. Your, $95.00 per name and DOB combination search at the NYS OCA is not necessarily a thorough search. It is not the gold standard and is only one option available for those searching for criminal history on a subject in New York.
Please note that our Cursory Indicator New York inquiry and our clients that use that data set for New York Statewide Criminal Record inquiries are not affected by this. Also, Cursory Indicator New York uses fuzzy logic and has no misdemeanor redemption policy applied to it.