Merced County Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool

Marissa Gerchick filed this request with the Superior Court of Merced County of Merced County, CA.
Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Marissa Gerchick

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act (California Government Code §§ 6250), I hereby request the following records:

I wish to expect documents concerning the Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool used by the Superior Court, County of Merced. In an October 2017 report, the California Pretrial Detention Reform Workgroup (commissioned by the California Judicial Council) listed this county as using the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (VPRAI) as a pretrial risk assessment tool. The report is available here (see page 101). If this county is not indeed using this tool, this request pertains to whatever tool the county is using as a pretrial risk assessment, if any.

This request is for:

1. The text of the tool used by the court in this county. Specifically, the questions asked in the risk assessment and the weight each factor is given in calculating a risk assessment score.

2. A copy of any validation studies conducted with respect to the risk assessment tool used in this county and a copy of any records pertaining to inquiries for the need of validation studies, or discussion of potential or actual validation studies. By “validation study,” I mean any study designed to assess how accurate the program is in predicting what it is supposed to predict, or to assess whether the program may err in the direction of either under- or overestimating likelihoods or predicted outcomes, or may produce any results that are biased or unexpected in any way.

3. A copy of any privacy impact assessments, use policies, standard operating procedures, data retention policies, legal opinions, warranties, non-disclosure agreements, contracts, liability waivers, insurance agreements, Requests for Proposals, Responses to Requests for Proposal, Memorandums of Understanding, Letters of Interest, usage policies, or informal agreements pertaining to this county’s use of pretrial risk assessment tools.

4. For the aspects of the assessment that require an input, for example, to compute a value, we request a copy of the the last six month's sets of outputs of the software (risk scores) in whatever their native format is. We also request the judicial recommendation (bail or released on recognizance) made in each of these cases, as well as the gender and race of each defendant. If these outputs include exempt information, we ask that you exempt only that information which is specifically exempted from law, and provide the other material.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.


Marissa Gerchick


Good afternoon,

In response to your request received by Court Administration on April 6, 2018, for #1-3, the Court does not have records in response to this request. The Court does not use the Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool. The Merced County Probation Department may have responsive records pertaining to this tool.

To the extent that the court has responsive records to #4 of your request, these are adjudicative records and they are not subject to rule 10.500. Moreover, to the extent that the records disclose summary criminal history information, they may not be disclosed to the public. Penal Code, §§ 13300 -13304 prohibits disclosure of local summary criminal history information, including name, date of birth, dates of arrest, charges, dispositions, etc. See also, Westbrook v. Los Angeles (1994) 27 Cal. App.4th 157, 164 [holding that there is a "qualitative difference between obtaining information from a specific docket or on a specified individual, and obtaining docket information on every person against whom criminal charges are pending in a municipal court...," the latter of which is prohibited by Penal Code §13300]; California Rules of Court, rule 2.507(c) [prohibiting disclosure of certain data from calendars, indexes, and registers of action]; and, rule 2.503(a)[electronic records only available to the extent not confidential by law].) Individual case files may be viewed by visiting the court and requesting records on an individual, case-by-case basis, if you provide a case number or party name.

Thank you,

Shelbi Perino
Executive Assistant
Merced Superior Court
Phone: (209) 725-4250
Fax: (209) 725-4102


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