A federal jury sided with residents of Bucks county and awarded them a $1,000.00 each for privacy rights violations when booked into the county jail.
Jury members found that county officials acted recklessly and indifferent when handling sensitive criminal history information. There were approximately 67,000 residents affected between 1938 and 2013.
A U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone had previously ruled in March 2016 that the information available on its Inmate Lookup Tool violated the state’s Criminal History Record Information Act by making protected information publicly available.
The claim arose from a former inmate of Bucks county. This inmate had their records sealed yet their information was publicly accessible via the Buck county Inmate Lookup Tool. The inmate claimed emotional stress and an invasion of their privacy. The inmate gave class action status to the lawsuit.
The jury determined that the privacy breach was a willful violation and determined that each person be compensated $1,000.00 the law allows up to $10,000.00. There was no comment from the Bucks county commissioners.