NC court says criminal database is public record

Feb. 18, 2014 @ 03:41 PM

A three-judge panel says North Carolina's criminal records database is a public record and the court system must disclose it when requested, even though the information comes from local courthouse documents.

A Court of Appeals panel largely overturned Tuesday a lower-court decision that had sided with the Administrative Office of the Courts and Wake County's Superior Court clerk.

The case involves attempts by data-collection company Lexis/Nexis to obtain a copy of the database within the Automated Criminal/Infraction System. The court system said it couldn't provide the database because local clerks were the custodians of the actual records. The Wake County clerk said she was unable to copy the database.

Appeals judges found the database is a distinct public record as the law defines and subject to release.