felony as a minor

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Zara
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felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:53 am

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Last edited by Zara on Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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usuaggie
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby usuaggie » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:56 am

you get a chance to explain in your applications. Be honest, that is the best way. Explain it reasonably, like you just did. Maybe even say I don't believe I HAVE to admit this, but I felt like it was the better choice. or something.

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usuaggie
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby usuaggie » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:59 am

i wouldnt say the thing about small towns over reacting though. keep it neutral.

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fl0w
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby fl0w » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:02 am

i think i just posted a reply to a similar thread, but i give everyone the same advice so here goes.

i think you've almost answered your own question. You said this is something you could see coming up in the bar character and fitness check. If that's the case, you should disclose. it looks pretty bad for them to find something that you did not disclose in your app.

also, a lot of schools specifically say that you should disclose even if something was expunged. they also say that if you are unsure of if you should disclose or not, then you should err on the side of caution.

like i've said before, i know it sucks to have to disclose something.. i'm in the same boat. i certainly could have chosen not to disclose based on the strict wording of the question in the law school applications, but not disclosing and having someone find out and ask you about it later would be far worse.

at the end of the day, if you can't write an addendum that makes them feel ok about admitting you when you have a 4.0 and 170+ LSAT, then it's just not the school for you.

The other thing I would do, if you were really worried about bar character and fitness, is to call the bar association of the states in which you think you may be taking the exam. ask them about the scenario and how major/minor of an issue this would be.

i always toss this into my post on this kind of topic as well.. for what it's worth i've gone through extensive screening processes for government clearance for a position of public trust. what they really appreciate is you being honest with them. a lot of things are not as big a deal when you are up front, explain, and talk about how you've grown past them. it's when they find it out on their own that it seems shady and becomes a problem.

just my $0.02

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:18 am

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fl0w
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby fl0w » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:37 am

Zara wrote:Thanks for your advice. I am just really worried because it looks far far worse than it is due to the name. I mean when we just had an attempted terroristic attack a week or so ago and when we are in the midst of a war generated by a fear of terrorism how is any school going to let someone with a felony of terroristic threatening in (even if the crime was silly) when there are other qualified applicants who have clean records? Even if I do get into law school what are the chances that this one tiny mistake I made when I was sixteen won't affect me when I try to make the bar?

So do you all think I should disclose even if the school doesn't specifically ask about minor offenses?

I was thinking about disclosing only to the schools that specifically ask about my minor record since if it came up later I could clearly just say the truth--that I was informed I would not have to ever report minor offenses that were expunged and that I answered honestly about my current adult record.


My disclosure is compromising because of the name of the "offense" as well. I wrote a brief, well-worded addendum aimed at alleviating any worries that admissions may have as a result. Am I worried about it? Certainly. But I've submitted all of my applications and if they don't like it, they don't like it.

no offense, but the attitude you're taking is sly. saying that you are going to disclose to one school because they happened to put the word "minor" in the application and not to another is withholding that information on a technicality. Although some local police may have told you that you wouldn't have to worry about expunged offenses, they had no idea what your future would hold. Regardless of what someone else told you, when you are planning to enter a field where moral character is one of the criteria for admission, I would suggest taking the moral high road and being as open as possible. I'm just speaking from my experience thus far in the application process and from my experience with the government clearance process.

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Kohinoor
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:42 am

Zara wrote:Thanks for your advice. I am just really worried because it looks far far worse than it is due to the name. I mean when we just had an attempted terroristic attack a week or so ago and when we are in the midst of a war generated by a fear of terrorism how is any school going to let someone with a felony of terroristic threatening in (even if the crime was silly) when there are other qualified applicants who have clean records? Even if I do get into law school what are the chances that this one tiny mistake I made when I was sixteen won't affect me when I try to make the bar?

So do you all think I should disclose even if the school doesn't specifically ask about minor offenses?

I was thinking about disclosing only to the schools that specifically ask about my minor record since if it came up later I could clearly just say the truth--that I was informed I would not have to ever report minor offenses that were expunged and that I answered honestly about my current adult record.

You are correct in your analysis that you may be fucked. If you don't disclose it, you may be even more fucked.

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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:43 am

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usuaggie
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby usuaggie » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:54 am

take out the dashes.

ol—but I have also become heavily active in community service—as

things like this take away the flow. also, it turns the sentences into fragments, since as shown by my.... is taken away from what it is actually commenting on.

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:58 am

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Woozy
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:04 am

I am not an expert, but I think the conventional wisdom is to keep it short and sweet. Hopefully everything in the 2nd paragraph is well detailed in your application; your addendum should probably be something similar to the 1st and 3rd paragraphs only. Try to make it a little less wordy and a little more remorseful.

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:25 am

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Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:33 am

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Woozy
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Woozy » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:09 am

You don't have your community service / GPA info other places in your app?

You do sound fairly remorseful, but a few phrasings make it sound a little wishy-washy to me. For example, you say: "Given the fear the fake pistol may have caused local citizens to experience..." Including the phrase "may have" makes it sound like you are trying to leave open the possibility that you didn't cause any fear. You plead guilty to doing so, therefore it is best to just own up to it completely. There are a few places where you use may/might which I think should be taken out and replaced with more direct language. Also, where you say "implore you to not let the mistakes of my adolescence mar the achievements of my adulthood." it just sounds a little whiny and self-important to me. Just one guy's opinion.

Also, and on a different note: You are thinking very lowly of the people reading your application when you worry they will associate a charge of "terroristic threatening" with Al-Qaeda style terrorism. These are educated people with a legal background who will know exactly what terroristic threatening means.

I repeat: I am not an expert, but I doubt this youthful indiscretion will have a significant negative impact on your cycle. Just own up to it and show it does not define you. You are definitely on the right track with your addendum.

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Lawquacious
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:26 am

FLOW wrote: "like i've said before, i know it sucks to have to disclose something.. i'm in the same boat. i certainly could have chosen not to disclose based on the strict wording of the question in the law school applications, but not disclosing and having someone find out and ask you about it later would be far worse".
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IMO, if the question doesn't demand a disclosure then there is no need to disclose potentially damaging information, even if later it becomes necessary to disclose this same information due to another question where the wording does technically demand it. However, in the case of OP, it does sound like the disclosure is demanded, as the questions I have seen about criminal convictions and charges ask if 'you have ever been charged/convicted', not whether you have been charged/convicted as an adult.

On the other hand, I really respect where FLOW is coming from in terms of being open about the past and confident in oneself even if the past has been problematic.

The addendum sounds good to me overall, except as noted (at least in part) where it comes off as downgrading the impact that you did have on the community (if the police were called due to your behavior, you obviously really upset somebody).

One other note: the part about the Key Club and all the positive things you were doing at the time of the incident did strike me as somewhat odd. I question whether it is maybe better to leave some of that out, and instead just acknowledge the incident and what you have learned from it. Then again, it may help build support for your argument that it was an isolated incident (it just almost begs the question: if you had such poor judgment in the gun incident at the same time you were doing everything right in terms of activities and GPA etc, now that you have been doing everything right in terms of activities and GPA etc for a while since the incident, are you capable of another isolated incident of very poor judgement? In this sense, I think it's better to just show how you learned from the incident rather than to build yourself with your accolades- especially if those accolades equally applied at the time of the pistol incident). Just my thoughts- may be totally off-base.

Best of luck!
Last edited by Lawquacious on Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:32 am

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:54 am

Zara wrote:My question is--should I disclose to the schools that do not ask for offenses as a minor? (specifically the schools that vaguely ask "have you ever been convicted of a crime?")

I would think that these schools are asking about offenses committed as a minor... with the "ever" and all.

I like your addendum.

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:14 pm

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Sourpunch
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Sourpunch » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:38 pm

if they DON'T ask for it, don't send it.

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vamedic03
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:55 pm

Sourpunch wrote:if they DON'T ask for it, don't send it.


Nice job giving bad advice . . . the rule is DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE . . .

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fl0w
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:41 pm

Zara wrote:ok i've taken all the advice into account and this is what i came up with. Please let me know if you think it is better or worse. thanks a lot.

In the spring of 2001, at the age of 16, my friends and I became interested in film and endeavored to make a film of our own. Using my car, a video camera, and a fake pistol we began making an action film. In the process, we unfortunately frightened several people and were subsequently arrested on May 11, 2001. Given the fear the fake pistol caused local citizens to experience, we were charged with terroristic threatening, a felony. I took responsibility for my actions, plead guilty with no contest and was placed on a year of probation. The charge was expunged from my record upon my 18th birthday.
At the time of the incident I was an honor student who had no disciplinary infractions at either school or work, and who also had no prior criminal record. While I knew it would be difficult to earn back the respect and trust of my family, friends, and community, I chose to overcome this obstacle by learning from my mistakes and working hard to improve my character instead of allowing this event to color my future. I fulfilled all of the requirements of my probation and maintained an exemplary record from that point on. I also devoted myself to my community and my education as evidenced by my volunteer work and my high GPAs in all levels of my education.

This event was isolated and is not in any way indicative of my character or fitness to become a lawyer. I deeply regret my actions and wish I had had the foresight at the age of 16 to understand both the effect it would have on innocent bystanders at the time and the effect it might have on my future. I ask for your understanding of my immature and thoughtless action and implore you to not let the mistakes of my adolescence mar the achievements of my adulthood.


This is much better. I would still consider tweaking that last sentence. A disclosure isn't meant for you to beg the admissions committee (implied by use of the word "implore"). I would use that last sentence to say something to the tune of "I have worked diligently to ensure that the mistakes of my adolescence to not overshadow the achievements of my adulthood. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions." obviously play with the wording. I just don't like the last sentence to sound like you are desperate and on your knees. The disclosure is about you being open, owning up to what has happened, and being responsible. You don't want to sound like you are groveling.

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fl0w
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:54 pm

seanrr wrote:FLOW wrote: "like i've said before, i know it sucks to have to disclose something.. i'm in the same boat. i certainly could have chosen not to disclose based on the strict wording of the question in the law school applications, but not disclosing and having someone find out and ask you about it later would be far worse".
------

IMO, if the question doesn't demand a disclosure then there is no need to disclose potentially damaging information, even if later it becomes necessary to disclose this same information due to another question where the wording does technically demand it. However, in the case of OP, it does sound like the disclosure is demanded, as the questions I have seen about criminal convictions and charges ask if 'you have ever been charged/convicted', not whether you have been charged/convicted as an adult.

On the other hand, I really respect where FLOW is coming from in terms of being open about the past and confident in oneself even if the past has been problematic.


It's nice to see someone respectfully disagree. You have no idea how rare that is, haha! The primary reasons that I chose to disclose even if the strict wording of the question did no require me to are the following:
1) The openness shows that you truly have learned from the past incident. Those who are comfortable and confident in sharing this type of information portray an image reflective of one that is not ashamed because they have learned from it and moved on.
2) Answering a very similar question differently down the line based on the inclusion of one extra word looks like you were either trying to be slick the first time you answered, that you didn't understand the intent of the question the first time, that you were too ashamed to discuss the incident, etc. It is my opinion that if you are applying to law school you are going to have to own up to everything up until your application. If you are not proud of something, that's ok, but you should be at the point now where you've learned from it and are a better person. The key is you should not be ashamed (different from not being proud).

In the scenario where you choose not to disclose based on the omission of one word from the question, you may get lucky and never be asked that question again. Or you may be asked that question again with the addition of one or two words and your answer will change. Then everyone will look at you funny... possibly even think that you lied earlier. In the scenario where you disclose the first time, it's all out on the table. If you are asked the same question again down the line, you can just point to your first answer.

Honesty is great. Consistency is great too. Combine them for win (this is, of course IMO).

Zara
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Zara » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:01 am

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Grizz
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby Grizz » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:25 am

fl0w wrote:no offense, but the attitude you're taking is sly. saying that you are going to disclose to one school because they happened to put the word "minor" in the application and not to another is withholding that information on a technicality.


Sounds like OP might make a good lawyer.

bartleby
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Re: felony as a minor

Postby bartleby » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:36 am

hey, thought i'd chime in re: addendum cause i have to write one for myself. first, if you have a 4.0, 170+, i don't know if something you did at 16 involving a bb gun will be a big deal. you'll get into some places.

secondly, i think your addendum is a little too wordy. this is really my opinion so i don't know what admissions people will think but the beginning of your addendum almost sounds comical. we were interested in film and endeavored to make a film of our own...an action film...that resulted in a felony charge of terroristic threatening.

i really don't like the line about "given the fear the fake pistol caused local citizens to experience" because it is wordy as hell and you don't seem as remorseful as you should be, or at least act. i think there's just a lot of excess information here. the situation is unfortunate (we unfortunately frightened several people) but from what i hear, you should just take 100% full responsibility and just be very, very apologetic.

you've already showed that you've turned it around given all the positive stuff you've had since the incident. just explain it and state that it was an isolated incident you've moved on from. the last paragraph is fine.




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