Court

Courts serve as key players in both warrant and disposition processes as they are the originating point for both types of records. Judges and magistrates issue and update arrest and other types of warrants as well as adjudicate criminal cases. The court's findings, which are recorded by court clerks, are often the final dispositions that are necessary to complete a criminal history record. While the court creates these records, it is vital that they are well linked to other criminal justice partners (i.e., law enforcement, prosecutors, warrant/criminal history repository) in order for the flow of information to be complete, timely, and accurate.

Warrants

When a judge or magistrate determines that there is probable cause based on an affidavit from a prosecutor, victim, or law enforcement, the court issues an arrest warrant. Once the warrant is issued at the court, it is sent to law enforcement to arrest and bring to jail the person charged with the crime. If law enforcement fails to arrest the subject, the warrant becomes outstanding and should be included as an active warrant in any local, state, or national warrant files.

In addition to arrest warrants, courts often issue the following:
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Search warrant
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Failure to appear
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Bench warrant
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Alias warrant
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Fugitive warrant
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Capias/Capias pro fine warrant
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Civil capias warrant
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Governor's warrant

If a judge quashes a warrant, it is no longer valid and that information must be updated in wanted person systems and transmitted to law enforcement. The most recent court adjudication for all warrants must be communicated to all other players in the process or the data will be incomplete and therefore inaccurate.

Dispositions

A disposition is defined by the FBI as "an action regarded by the criminal justice system to be the final result of a committed offense.” It can indicate that no action was taken on an arrest or that no charges were filed with the court, but most dispositions are based on the findings of the court. Thus, the court plays a large role in disposition reporting. It is critical that the court transmit data consistently and in a timely manner to other entities – especially the criminal history repository which maintains the complete criminal history. It is also important that the findings coming from the courts include all data elements necessary for matching the disposition record to the arrest record (e.g., fingerprints identifiers, arrest tracking numbers, etc.). The failure to report dispositions results in incomplete and therefore inaccurate criminal history records. Many jurisdictions use automated means to exchange data with other agencies and criminal justice partners improving data quality and completeness of criminal history information for all justice partners.