Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Jail?

Arrested June 3, 2010, but you may not have noticed. The incident did not garner much press. If a reporter had uncovered this arrest record and printed a story about the Lakers Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being incarcerated in Columbia County, Georgia, he or she would have been forced to print an embarrassing retraction.

Why? Go to the Georgia criminal records directory and click on the link for “Columbia County Inmates,” you’ll see that a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was arrested on June 3, 2010 for parole violation. If you look at the details, you’ll see the age of this suspect is 25. The very sad looking character is clearly not the same individual as the Lakers’ skyhook king who made wrap-around sports glasses look chic.

This illustrates just how imperative it is that when you perform a criminal records search that you check the age or birth date of the subject. Many names are common and even a highly unique name like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not unique enough.

Another example is one of an unemployed man we’ll call George Smith who used our Premium criminal records search to perform a check on himself. He wanted an exact search of his name and exact date of birth, so he could print the No Results Found page to exonerate himself. George’s problem was that he applied for a job and when the employer ran a registered offender check, a record appeared for another George Smith born the same year. The employer didn’t bother to look at the finer details such as exact date of birth, and simply assumed the applicant was a Level 3 Offender. As our George put it, “They ran me out of their office with a stick!”

Researchers can cause damage and confusion if they mistakenly match a criminal record to the wrong person. So how do you avoid making this mistake? First of all, know the date of birth of the person you are searching. If you find records that don’t include a date of birth (many jurisdictions omit that information from their results), you need to dig further, perhaps at the county court itself, to either find the date of birth, or other information that will allow you to determine whether or not the record matches your subject. Often records will include an address or a physical description of the person.

In addition to our nationwide criminal records database we also offer an index to local government databases such as courts, sheriff departments, and corrections departments. Using those tools, you can research at the source to get the full truth.