Online databases are open to the public allowing you to search civil and criminal court cases for a particular state and thereby conduct a quick background search. These may not be available in all states yet, but ultimately I think they will. A list of online resources is available at:
I first learned of this from one of our Sheriff's deputies, following suspected harrassment by a neighbor, who we were suing for property damage. I learned that this individual is a career crook and I gave considerable thought to appropriate security, and was able to collaborate with other plaintiffs on strategy.
I strongly recommend that people check-out contractors, child-care workers, etc. to reduce the likelihood of problems. I recently checked on somebody who was going to be visiting my home for an estimate, and discovered that they are charged with 8 felony counts related to child sexual assault. I cancelled the visit and found an alternative provider. I know that someone is innocent until proven guilty but there are limits!
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