The Iowa Public Information Board
COMES NOW, Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Dismissal Order:
On February 18, 2021, Christine Warth filed formal complaint 21FC:0010, alleging that the Henry County Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff) and the State of Iowa/Department of Corrections (DOC) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.
Ms. Warth alleged that the Sheriff and DOC violated Iowa Code chapter 22 when her arrest information was placed on the VINE website and on the Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC) website on September 19, 2020.
VINE is a victim notification network system utilized nationwide. The program allows people to access information about offenders or arrestees from jails and prisons in the United States. When an individual is arrested and booked into a jail, information about the individual is posted through this program. The records created by the VINE website (www.vinelink.com) are public records.
The Iowa Department of Corrections also maintains information about individuals booked into jails and prisons in Iowa at https://doc.iowa.gov/offender/search. These records are also considered public records.
In response, a DOC spokesperson stated that the DOC website displays “public information related to supervision provided either by a Judicial District Department of Correctional Services or the Iowa Department of Corrections. In this instance this information includes that this constituent has received pretrial release supervision for a class D felony charge. Upon the outcome of her hearing before the court, if the constitutent’s judgement is deferred or case dismissed, that information will be removed from the website at that time.”
In response to the previous complaint, the Sheriff indicated that the jail software automatically shares booking information with the VINE and DOC systems.
Ms. Warth has not provided any information to allege a violation of Iowa Code chapter 22 by the DOC. Her complaint against the Sheriff was previously resolved by the IPIB.
Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint. This complaint does not meet those requirements.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 21FC:00010 is dismissed as legally insufficient and without merit as to the DOC and because it is related to a specific incident that has previously been finally disposed of by the IPIB as to the Sheriff, pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b).
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may “delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.” The IPIB will review this Order on March 18, 2021. Pursuant to IPIB rule 497-2.1(4), the parties will be notified in writing of its decision.
By the IPIB Executive Director
Margaret E. Johnson
1. On October 12, 2020, Ms. Warth filed a similar complaint against just the Henry County Sheriff. That complaint (20FC:0104), was dismissed by the IPIB as legally insufficient and without merit on November 19, 2020.
CERTIFICATE OF MAILING
This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of March, 2021, to:
Rick McNamee, Henry County Sheriff
Cord Overton, Iowa Department of Corrections