You will have to dig it up, you can start with looking up local periodicals such as news publications, arrest logs and inmate lists provided by law enforcement. Arrest records are provided by the law enforcement agency which created the report. You can check the department's site for warrants. Larger departments tend to have better online resources.
If you want free public records, you'll have to dig them up where ever you can find them. Arrest records, for example, can be found in criminal case files, which means a trip to the court house. Same cases can be found online, but there are access charges. The information about arrests or deaths can be found published throughout the net by looking up death notices, jail inmate logs and more. However, for certificates and official reports, there are going to be charges from the department or agency that's providing them. There are exceptions, some police departments will waive the fee for a police report if the requester is in the report.
You can check court records for convictions at the county court house. Also, police reports are public records, although they tend to be more difficult to obtain than court records.
You can check the board of parole hearings proceeding schedules online from July to December. Use the key terms: Parole Hearing Schedule, California Department of Corrections. That should land you on the page where you will see a link to the year listing the schedule. On the same page, the menu to the right will have a set of links, one of them being "Proceedings", when you click on that, it will drop down to a hyperlink where you can see about requesting parole suitability hearing transcripts. According to this web page, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will provide free electronic transcripts upon request. If the transcripts are prior to 2001, they can be requested from micro film, but comes with a per page charge, which is relatively low.
How and where to request police dash cams or body camera footage is a relatively new question as these are being increasingly utilized by more departments across the United States. The answer to many of questions surrounding recorded video by police is straight forward and not surprising as it is similar to so many other request from law enforcement departments. Police and sheriffs are under state open records laws, not the freedom of information act which is for requesting federal records. Open records laws and procedures can vary from one state or department to another. In addition, you have the individual departments records division to deal with. It is not uncommon for law enforcement departments to deny access to public records for various reasons. Reasons can be that the case is under investigation, or that it must be requested as part of discovery.
You can go directly to the area's police department or sheriffs, depending on the department's online services, their website can show recent arrests. Cities such as LA, OC and others put their arrest logs online for the public to check. Newspapers/online publications also show recent arrests. You'll need to know which city to save you a lot of time.
There are many different services and methods used to conduct a criminal history search. You have more access to your own records rather than others in the general public since privacy of personal information is not a concern. You can request your own arrest records directly from the police department. When you conduct your own search, the records can be a supplement to a background check used by the public. You can request a California Department of Justice (DOJ) fingerprint criminal history check. Even this search requires a consent form to be submitted when requesting the search. Take a look at their coverage, it's comprehensive in regard to criminal records compared to many private services. If you believe there may be criminal records, you can check court records on your own, where and how depends on which court/county as courts are the original source of records found in a typical background check. The link above (California Criminal Records) will take you to the state and fbi criminal history checks.
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