Lawsuit filed against The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for inaccurate criminal record
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has asked a judge in Franklin County to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the cities of Dayton and Columbus that accuses the agency of failing to keep complete and accurate records in its criminal background check system.
In a motion filed this month, BCI claims Dayton, Columbus and the one other plaintiff have produced no evidence or facts that support their claims that the agency is responsible for information that may be missing in its computerized criminal history database.
“Plaintiffs-Realtors fail to allege even one instance where BCI&I failed to follow the law and caused a gap in Ohio’s background check system,” the motion states.
The agency claims the lawsuits is a “political maneuver looking for a legal claim.”
In November, Dayton, Columbus and an Ohio resident filed a civil complaint in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against BCI and its superintendent Joseph Morbitzer.
BCI is the state’s official crime lab and is overseen by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The lawsuit alleges that BCI is not fulfilling its legal obligation to procure and maintain complete and accurate criminal history data in its background check system.
The complaint says gaps in the background check system threaten the safety of Ohioans and residents in Dayton and Columbus because potentially they allow people to buy firearms and obtain jobs they are legally prohibited from possessing or working.
But BCI says the plaintiffs fail to allege any specific instances where the agency has violated the law.
The agency also claims the plaintiffs have not offered any proof that BCI has maintained its computerized criminal history database in a way that has caused them harm or that is likely to cause future harm.
“Plaintiffs also fail to allege that BCI&I even has the legal authority to compel the reporting of information they claim is missing,” the motion to dismiss states.
BCI says numerous police chiefs, county sheriffs, clerks of court and other officials are required to report criminal information to enter into its database.
The agency says the lawsuit does nothing to try to make these officials and organizations submit the required records.
BCI also claims the plaintiffs lack legal standing and have not identified what BCI should be doing differently.
Dayton and Columbus say background checks only work if the state collects and maintains complete records about Ohioans’ criminal histories.
“Disturbingly, BCI is failing to do that, risking deadly consequences,” the plaintiffs’ complaint states.