AP's reportage adds the news that Travis County had among the worst problems with data reporting statewide. Imperative found:
Fort Worth-based Imperative Information Group, a company that does background investigations, looked at 562 cases for offenses that ranged from theft by check to capital murder. All were known to have ended with a conviction or "deferred adjudication," similar to probation.
Its study, conducted in October, found that the Department of Public Safety database did not have records on 36 percent of the 562 cases, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. In three instances, the cases were not reported to the database even though the defendants were sentenced to death.
The public database includes only cases that have ended in a conviction or deferred adjudication. State licensing agencies, employers, churches and others rely on the database to screen prospective employees, customers and volunteers. The missing records stem from human error and lax reporting from law enforcement agencies, courts and district attorneys, the newspaper reported.
The Imperative report showed that about half the Travis cases it studied did not include information on how the case turned out. Recent DPS reports show that Travis has been doing worse than that.
For about a decade, the DPS has been telling the Legislature that some counties are not reporting their case outcomes.
According to the most recent DPS report, Travis County reported 40,931 adult arrests in 2005. By 2008, Travis had reported the outcome of 16 percent of those cases — matching its consistent rank among the worst in the state.
Mange said that in some instances a case may take years to resolve, and in those cases, the result would not be available. But in the majority of instances where the resolution is not reported, she said, "we just aren't notified about it" being finished. Mange said most of the problems come from computer systems that aren't compatible with the state's system.
"We are working with Travis County to resolve some of the issues," Mange said. "They have shown an interest in ... fixing the problem."
Michelle Brinkman, chief deputy of the Travis County district clerk's office, said the issue has been brought to the attention of District Clerk Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza . She said Travis has been sending its results, and the county's technology staff is "working with the DPS staff to determine why this data is not yet fully available within their system."