In 1993, a 25 year old woman living in New York pleaded guilty to bank
fraud, and received one day in jail, six months of house arrest, and four
years of probation. She did her time, began to pursue nursing school,
and was able to move forward and put the whole incident behind her - or
so she thought.
In 2010, while in her last semester of college, the woman filed a petition
for expungement of her criminal record. This is because she was deeply
concerned (and with good reason) that her fraud conviction would come
back to haunt her as she tried to find a job. However, her expungement
was denied by Judge Raymond Dearie, who simply had no other choice.
Why Was Expungement Denied?
This woman’s case is just one of countless stories in which first-time,
non-violent offenders have rehabilitated, paid their debt to society,
and yet still face tremendous difficulty in getting a job due to their
blemished record. Ironically, she had been so successful in rehabilitating
that she no longer demonstrated “exceptional circumstances”
which would justify expungement, and was forced to give up nursing school.
Anyone who is convicted of a crime in New York or on the federal level
will have a very tough time expunging their records. This is because expungements
are only granted under “exceptional circumstances,” which
include mass arrests without probable cause and unconstitutional arrests.
To lawmakers and prosecutors, inability to find a job is not a valid ground
for expungement, no matter how much a person has turned their life around.
It can be extremely tough to expunge your record. Call (646) 741-3856 for
tough defense against criminal charges.
It’s Time for Expungement Reform
Although he was forced to deny the woman’s expungement application,
Judge Dearie has been an outspoken advocate for changes to the way expungements
are granted. In his ruling, he quoted a previous ruling from Eastern District
Judge John Gleeson which stated:
“[I] sentenced her to five years of probation supervision, not to
a lifetime of unemployment.”
Numerous studies have linked unemployment to recidivism, or repeat offenses,
and there has long been a link between criminal records and inability
to find employment. People who are convicted of crimes pay for their mistakes
with either their money or their freedom – nothing is gained by
hampering a person from becoming a productive member of society long after
they have served their sentence and paid their debt.
Call (646) 741-3856 Today
Criminal records exist for a reason, and we are certainly not arguing that
all convicted individuals should have their records expunged. However,
we do strongly believe that when someone has turned their life around,
they deserve a second chance. At Sullivan & Brill, our experienced
New York criminal defense attorneys fight to defend our clients against
criminal conviction, as we know how serious the impact can be.
Although there is no law in New York to expunge a criminal record, there
are still options like applying for a Certificate of Relief from Civil
Disabilities or terminating your probation early.
Sullivan & Brill, LLP can help you understand those options and represent you if you choose
to move forward with one of them.