Massachusetts Enacts Emergency Regulation on CORI Verifications

On April 9, 2020, the Massachusetts’ Department of Criminal Justice Information Systems (DCJIS) passed an Emergency Regulation to address the social distancing limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Any entity requesting criminal offender record information through DCJIS’s iCORI database (CORI) must first obtain the subject’s authorization.  Previously, as part of this authorization process, the requesting party had to verify the subject’s identity in person by examining government-issued photo identification.  If an in-person interaction was not possible, the CORI authorization must have been signed by the subject and certified by a notary public.

Under the Emergency Regulation, requesting parties may now verify a subject’s identity and government-issued identification through videoconferencing. If videoconferencing is unavailable to requesting parties, they may also apply to DCJIS for alternative verification measures. The Emergency Regulation does not describe what would be considered acceptable alternatives.

Importantly, this Emergency Regulation is only in effect while the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in a State of Emergency.  Further, once the State of Emergency is lifted, requesting parties that used videoconferencing or other verification alternatives will have seven business days to verify the subject’s identification either in person, or through a notarized authorization form. As it remains unclear how long the Massachusetts’ State of Emergency will last, it will be important for employers to track all individuals it verified through these emergency measures so they may later obtain verifications either in-person or through a notary certification.  

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.