California CANRA

As the preceding post discussed criminal data bases, <a href="http://darrenchaker visit the website.us”>Darren Chaker reports about a little known state database. In 1997, CANRA was amended (a) to change the name of “unsubstantiated” reports to “inconclusive” reports, without altering the definition, and (b) to provide for purging “inconclusive or unsubstantiated” reports ten years after entry in the Index, unless DOJ receives another report on the same “suspected child abuser” within that period, in which case DOJ retains the listing for at least ten years from receipt of the more recent report. § § 11165.12(c), 11170(a)(3); see Cal. Stats. 1997, ch. 842, §§ 2, 6.1.

CANRA still does not specify a retention period for reports classified as anything other than “unsubstantiated” or “inconclusive.” Under DOJ policy, all Index listings arising from 11169 Reports marked “substantiated” are set for permanent retention unless the submitting agency notifies DOJ that (a) the report is “unfounded” or should be reclassified as “inconclusive,” or (b) there is no available investigative file that supports the listing.

“Not unfounded” is the only classification decision that CANRA requires an agency to make before submitting a report for entry in the Index. § 11169(a). But DOJ’s reporting forms direct agencies to make other classification decisions: the agency investigator must classify the report “substantiated” or “inconclusive” by marking one of those pre-printed options on the reporting form. Regs. § 903(a). The investigator’s mark determines the listing’s slated retention period.

In any event, CANRA does indicate an intent to protect against the entry and retention of unfounded Index listings. Since 1981, § 11170 has required (a) that DOJ continually update the Index, (b) that unfounded reports not be entered in the Index, and (c) that DOJ not retain listings derived from submitted reports that later prove unfounded. Since 1985, § 11169 has prohibited the creation of any Index listing unless the report has been actively investigated and determined not to be unfounded in conformity with § 11165.12; and § 11169 precludes absolute immunity for investigators who submit reports to the Index.

Last, while CANRA requires the listing of “not unfounded” reports, it equally protects against being listed on unfounded accusations. Thus, an agency’s duty to submit reports “determined not to be unfounded” is balanced by CANRA’s prohibition against the submission of reports that have not been “determined not to be unfounded.” § 11169(a).

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