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Maine Updates Regulations on Collection and Dissemination of Information

By Michael Klazema on 8/9/2013

House Paper 1070 (L.D. 1493) was enacted on June 14, 2013. The Act revises laws pertaining to criminal history record information and intelligence and investigative information. It creates two chapters which allow for the separate treatment of criminal history record information and investigative record information. It also adds a new section to the Maine Juvenile Code to address the dissemination of juvenile intelligence and investigative record information.

Title 16, Chapter 3, sub-c. 8 is repealed and replaced by Chapter 7, Sections 701 to 710 of the Revised Statutes. Chapter 7 may be cited as the “Criminal History Record Information Act.” It governs the dissemination of criminal history record information by a State criminal justice agency and most state agency searches conducted by background screening agencies. But it does not govern court records so county court searches are not affected.

It establishes two categories of criminal information and provides for the dissemination of each. The first category, public criminal history record information, means criminal history record information that is not confidential criminal history record information. It may be disseminated by a state criminal justice agency to any person or public or private entity for any purpose. This information is public whether it relates to a pending or past crime. There is no time limitation on dissemination of public criminal history record information.

The second category, “Confidential criminal history record information” was formerly identified as “non-conviction data.” It involves information that pertains to the disposition of an unprosecuted charge. Confidential criminal history record information means summons and arrest information without disposition if more than one year has elapsed, and no active prosecution is pending, and other information disclosing that:

  1. An agency or officer has elected not to refer a matter to a prosecutor;
  2. A prosecutor has elected not to initiate or approve criminal charges;
  3. A grand jury did not return a formal charge;
  4. A criminal proceeding has been indefinitely postponed or dismissed because the person charged is found by the court to be mentally incompetent to stand trial or to be sentenced;
  5. A criminal charge has been filed if the filing period is indefinite or for more than one year;
  6. A criminal charge has been dismissed with prejudice or finality other than as part of a plea agreement;
  7. A person has been acquitted of a criminal charge;
  8. A criminal proceeding that has terminated in a mistrial with prejudice;
  9. A criminal proceeding that has terminated based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction;
  10. A criminal proceeding has been terminated because the court lacked jurisdiction; or
  11. A person has been granted a full and free pardon or amnesty.

Dissemination of confidential criminal history record information is restricted to the following persons or entities:

  1. Criminal justice agencies for the purpose of the administration of criminal justice and criminal justice agency employment.
  2. Any person for any purpose allowed by law that contains language specifically referring to confidential criminal history record information.
  3. Any person with a specific agreement with a criminal justice agency to provide services required for the administration of criminal justice or to conduct investigations to determine the employment suitability of prospective law enforcement officers. The agreement must specifically authorize access, limit the use, and ensure the security and confidentiality of the information.
  4. Any person for the express purpose of research, evaluation, or statistical purposes or under an agreement with the criminal justice agency. The agreement must specifically authorize access to confidential criminal history record information, limit the use of the information to research, evaluation or statistical purposes, ensure the confidentiality and security of the information and provide sanctions for violations.
  5. Any person who makes a specific inquiry to the criminal justice agency as to whether a named individual was summonsed, arrested, detained, or had formal criminal charges initiated on a specific date.
  6. The public for the purpose of announcing the fact of a specific disposition that is confidential criminal history record information.
  7. A public entity for purposes of international travel, such as issuing visas and granting citizenship.

To view the amendments highlighted here and the Act in its entirety, go here:  http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP1070&item=3&snum=126


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