Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Case against Oswego County Clerk George Williams continues

An Oneida County judge has sent a case against Oswego County Clerk George Williams back to Oswego County, according to the plaintiff’s attorney Scott Chatfield.

A hearing was held last week in the Article 78 proceeding and Chatfield said the judge ruled in favor of the county’s request to move the case to Oswego County.

Chatfield said he didn’t understand the move.

“It was done for the convenience of witnesses but this is an Article 78 proceeding, there won’t be a trial so there won’t be any witnesses to call,” he said.

Chatfield said while the county requested the venue change, a summary judgment was also requested.

Chatfield is representing APS Information Services, Inc., which alleges in court papers that Williams has been unlawfully charging a fee for criminal record searches that are not certified. The company further alleges that Williams denies access to the records in absence of the fee.

The Order to Show Cause references New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules, section 8021, which states a county clerk can charge “for certifying to a search of any records, other than those in an action or relating to real property, for a consecutive two year period or fraction thereof, for each name so searched, five dollars.”

As the county clerk, Williams has custody of the county’s criminal court records.

The Article 78 states, “The records that the petitioner searches are all in the public domain, albeit in the custody of the county clerks of the various counties that the petitioner covers.”

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