Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

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rb11
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Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby rb11 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:13 pm

Long time reader, but first time poster to TLS. Ok, so I've went through a thousand of these threads on the forums, but my question/situation seems to be slightly unique in comparison to others due to the seriousness of the offense among other things.

I'm a non-traditional senior(29) in undergrad right now at a T25 university, I was arrested for possession and manufacturing of narcotics(cocaine to be exact), and I eventually pleaded to a felony attempt to possess/manufacture < 50g charge. The truth of the matter is that I really didn't possess any narcotics, let alone attempt to manufacture anything. I was going back to my old neighborhood(which is probably the worst in the country to be honest) to catch up with a few buddies of mine that weren't necessarily role models, and I was aware of what they were doing(but I had no part of what was actually going on).That was roughly 5 years ago, and I will be able to apply for expungement shortly. I was also convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession about 10 years ago, for which I agreed to a plea under advisement deal(record cleaned after 6 months of being a model citizen), and I was actually guilty of this.

I would like to submit a law school app to my current undergrad institution, but I didn't disclose my criminal history on my undergrad application. So I'm faced with a dilemma - should I submit a law school app to my current undergrad institution, knowing that in all likelihood they will check the law school app against my undergrad app - at which point I would be subject to discipline up to and including the revocation of my degree possibly. Secondly, I know the consensus is simply disclose all criminal history on your law school app, which I plan to do. Would the above mentioned convictions be a huge impedement to gaining admission into Tier 1 law schools in light of the fact that they occured 5 years ago, and also would the board of character and good fitness give me some slack considering the fact that by the time I sit for the bar nearly 10 years would've passed since the last conviction?

HELP PLEASE!

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teaadntoast
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby teaadntoast » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:21 pm

I think your first step is to contact your local bar association regarding the ramifications of your convictions for the character and fitness test.

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Maven
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby Maven » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:27 pm

I would not assume that the law school would review your undergraduate application. The admissions committee will review literally thousands of applications, and unless there is a particular reason warranting a review, I would greatly doubt that someone from the committee would request a review.
Additionally, although there may be some state specific privacy issues restricting the ability of the law school admission committee from accessing your undergraduate application, applicable federal law would appear to allow the law school to review your undergraduate record without your authorization.
FYI-here is a brief summary of the applicable provision of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Accessing Records-Third Parties

FERPA prohibits the dissemination of personal information to third parties in most circumstances, subject to several exceptions set out specifically in the act. These exceptions are narrowly interpreted. A notice of each request for access and each disclosure must be created and maintained with the student's record. Any disclosure must be made on the condition that the information will not be redisclosed unless it is authorized and will be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired.

Written Consent

A student may allow their record to be released to a third party. This request must be in writing and contain the signature of the student. It must specify the records to be released, state the reason for the release and must identify the party or class of parties who may receive the records.

Eligible Educators

A disclosure may be made without prior written consent for several different classes of officials in the education field:

1) Other officials within the school or institution who the institution determines have a legitimate institutional interest.


Of course, if you are going to be totally freaked out about this and carry a guilty conscience, its probably best not to apply to the law school of your university.
Last edited by Maven on Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

03121202698008
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:33 pm

teaadntoast wrote:I think your first step is to contact your local bar association regarding the ramifications of your convictions for the character and fitness test.


This, although you really need to contact a lawyer who specializes in C&F matters in your state. You may very well be prohibited from sitting for the bar. Manufacturing a narcotic is a serious felony with serious implications. Don't count on the expungement either unless you have a very good reason why it should be expunged.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:04 pm

You were 24 years old when you committed a drug trafficking felony. You've also apparently made a false statement/omission in the past on an undergraduate admission disclosure, which you signed as true. Both of these are extremely serious cases of intentional misconduct.

You really don't have any reason to believe you're going to pass C&F as it stands.

rb11
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:37 pm

Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby rb11 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:14 pm

Maven wrote:I would not assume that the law school would review your undergraduate application. The admissions committee will review literally thousands of applications, and unless there is a particular reason warranting a review, I would greatly doubt that someone from the committee would request a review.
Additionally, although there may be some state specific privacy issues restricting the ability of the law school admission committee from accessing your undergraduate application, applicable federal law would appear to allow the law school to review your undergraduate record without your authorization.
FYI-here is a brief summary of the applicable provision of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Accessing Records-Third Parties

FERPA prohibits the dissemination of personal information to third parties in most circumstances, subject to several exceptions set out specifically in the act. These exceptions are narrowly interpreted. A notice of each request for access and each disclosure must be created and maintained with the student's record. Any disclosure must be made on the condition that the information will not be redisclosed unless it is authorized and will be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired.

Written Consent

A student may allow their record to be released to a third party. This request must be in writing and contain the signature of the student. It must specify the records to be released, state the reason for the release and must identify the party or class of parties who may receive the records.

Eligible Educators

A disclosure may be made without prior written consent for several different classes of officials in the education field:

1) Other officials within the school or institution who the institution determines have a legitimate institutional interest.


Of course, if you are going to be totally freaked out about this and carry a guilty conscience, its probably best not to apply to the law school of your university.




I guess I'm skeptical of 3rd parties(essentially all other law schools besides my current undergrad institution) not being able to view my undergrad app undeR FERPA since the bar association/board of C & F are 3rd parties as well, and yet they are granted access.

03121202698008
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:26 pm

rb11 wrote:
Maven wrote:I would not assume that the law school would review your undergraduate application. The admissions committee will review literally thousands of applications, and unless there is a particular reason warranting a review, I would greatly doubt that someone from the committee would request a review.
Additionally, although there may be some state specific privacy issues restricting the ability of the law school admission committee from accessing your undergraduate application, applicable federal law would appear to allow the law school to review your undergraduate record without your authorization.
FYI-here is a brief summary of the applicable provision of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Accessing Records-Third Parties

FERPA prohibits the dissemination of personal information to third parties in most circumstances, subject to several exceptions set out specifically in the act. These exceptions are narrowly interpreted. A notice of each request for access and each disclosure must be created and maintained with the student's record. Any disclosure must be made on the condition that the information will not be redisclosed unless it is authorized and will be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired.

Written Consent

A student may allow their record to be released to a third party. This request must be in writing and contain the signature of the student. It must specify the records to be released, state the reason for the release and must identify the party or class of parties who may receive the records.

Eligible Educators

A disclosure may be made without prior written consent for several different classes of officials in the education field:

1) Other officials within the school or institution who the institution determines have a legitimate institutional interest.


Of course, if you are going to be totally freaked out about this and carry a guilty conscience, its probably best not to apply to the law school of your university.




I guess I'm skeptical of 3rd parties(essentially all other law schools besides my current undergrad institution) not being able to view my undergrad app undeR FERPA since the bar association/board of C & F are 3rd parties as well, and yet they are granted access.


The C&F have access because you have granted them access by applying to the bar. You've also given them access to expunged records, etc. It's possible you are granting access to other law schools in a similar matter. It's very likely that C&F will find out you didn't tell your undergrad anyhow. Once they see the felony convictions, they are going to check any place you should have disclosed that. You have continued to prove through your actions that you are not beyond breaking the law for your own personal gain. C&F is going to have serious issues with this. I'd be less worried about getting into law school and more worried about taking on $150K in debt and not being allowed to practice.

rb11
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:37 pm

Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby rb11 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:31 pm

Would you suggest disclosing the criminal record to my undergrad prior to graduation in hopes that it wil "clear the air"?


blowhard wrote:
rb11 wrote:
Maven wrote:I would not assume that the law school would review your undergraduate application. The admissions committee will review literally thousands of applications, and unless there is a particular reason warranting a review, I would greatly doubt that someone from the committee would request a review.
Additionally, although there may be some state specific privacy issues restricting the ability of the law school admission committee from accessing your undergraduate application, applicable federal law would appear to allow the law school to review your undergraduate record without your authorization.
FYI-here is a brief summary of the applicable provision of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Accessing Records-Third Parties

FERPA prohibits the dissemination of personal information to third parties in most circumstances, subject to several exceptions set out specifically in the act. These exceptions are narrowly interpreted. A notice of each request for access and each disclosure must be created and maintained with the student's record. Any disclosure must be made on the condition that the information will not be redisclosed unless it is authorized and will be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired.

Written Consent

A student may allow their record to be released to a third party. This request must be in writing and contain the signature of the student. It must specify the records to be released, state the reason for the release and must identify the party or class of parties who may receive the records.

Eligible Educators

A disclosure may be made without prior written consent for several different classes of officials in the education field:

1) Other officials within the school or institution who the institution determines have a legitimate institutional interest.


Of course, if you are going to be totally freaked out about this and carry a guilty conscience, its probably best not to apply to the law school of your university.




I guess I'm skeptical of 3rd parties(essentially all other law schools besides my current undergrad institution) not being able to view my undergrad app undeR FERPA since the bar association/board of C & F are 3rd parties as well, and yet they are granted access.


The C&F have access because you have granted them access by applying to the bar. You've also given them access to expunged records, etc. It's possible you are granting access to other law schools in a similar matter. It's very likely that C&F will find out you didn't tell your undergrad anyhow. Once they see the felony convictions, they are going to check any place you should have disclosed that. You have continued to prove through your actions that you are not beyond breaking the law for your own personal gain. C&F is going to have serious issues with this. I'd be less worried about getting into law school and more worried about taking on $150K in debt and not being allowed to practice.

03121202698008
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:35 pm

I think they are going to find out about it anyway. If they don't, C&F will know you didn't tell them. I'd consult with an attorney who can explain your options and the potential consequences. I wouldn't worry about LS until I knew I was actually going to have a degree which is required for LS.

No one here is going to give you specific advice other than talk to an attorney. Doing so would be practicing law without a license.
Last edited by 03121202698008 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ScaredWorkedBored
Posts: 409
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:36 pm

You should seek professional assistance. You seem to understand that your university can impose extreme sanctions for misconduct on applications. You know you lied to them and concealed the felony. That's not a "oops, I forgot that I got a drinking ticket in high school" sort of amendment.

You shouldn't take a course of action that could get you expelled based on random internet advice.

03121202698008
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:39 pm

For what it's worth, I think you deserve to lose your undergrad degree and not gain admission to LS. At least, not at this point. You presumably knew the potential implication of not disclosing when you applied and yet you chose to do so. The ironic thing is, unless you are going to MIT or something they probably wouldn't have cared all that much had you disclosed it. Felons go to college all the time.

rb11
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Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby rb11 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:55 pm

blowhard wrote:For what it's worth, I think you deserve to lose your undergrad degree and not gain admission to LS. At least, not at this point. You presumably knew the potential implication of not disclosing when you applied and yet you chose to do so. The ironic thing is, unless you are going to MIT or something they probably wouldn't have cared all that much had you disclosed it. Felons go to college all the time.



That's your opinion and you're entitled to it. However, I must reiterate the fact that I DID NOT take part in the actions that I was accused of, I simply took the plea deal because it was the only realistic option that would afford me the opportunity to maintain freedom. In any event, until you've walked in those shoes, you shouldn't be so quick to place judgment upon those things for which you have no prior experience/knowledge. I must admit that in retrospect it was quite stupid of me to not acknowledge the criminal history. That being said, you try managing in life when your job prospects are virtually limited to nothing because of a criminal conviction that you had no part of. How many avenues do you think were available. Maybe you don't have experience with adversity of this magnitude, and maybe you do, but it's certainly not easy, and for you to state that admission boards "probably wouldn't have cared at all", is something that's easily spoken for someone that presumably doesn't have to face the potential consequences of rejection letters, yet not so easy for someone trying to make it in life with a severe disadvantage in comparison to other students. While your intentions may be good(maybe they're not either), and I appreciate your honesty, I really wish you weren't so judgmental.

03121202698008
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Advice Wanted - Regarding Criminal History Disclosure

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:01 pm

rb11 wrote:
blowhard wrote:For what it's worth, I think you deserve to lose your undergrad degree and not gain admission to LS. At least, not at this point. You presumably knew the potential implication of not disclosing when you applied and yet you chose to do so. The ironic thing is, unless you are going to MIT or something they probably wouldn't have cared all that much had you disclosed it. Felons go to college all the time.



That's your opinion and you're entitled to it. However, I must reiterate the fact that I DID NOT take part in the actions that I was accused of, I simply took the plea deal because it was the only realistic option that would afford me the opportunity to maintain freedom. In any event, until you've walked in those shoes, you shouldn't be so quick to place judgment upon those things for which you have no prior experience/knowledge. I must admit that in retrospect it was quite stupid of me to not acknowledge the criminal history. That being said, you try managing in life when your job prospects are virtually limited to nothing because of a criminal conviction that you had no part of. How many avenues do you think were available. Maybe you don't have experience with adversity of this magnitutde, and maybe you do, but it's certainly not easy, and for you to state that admission boards "probably wouldn't have cared at all", is something that's easily spoken for someone that presumably doesn't have to face the potential consequences of rejection letters, yet not so easy for someone trying to make in life with a severe disadvantage in comparison to other students. While your intentions may be good(maybe they're not either), and I appreciate your honesty, I really wish you weren't so judgmental.


I'm just being honest with you. I don't say this lightly, not disclosing was a major ethical breach. One that C&F will not look favorably upon. If I was on the C&F panel, I'd be thinking...would he tell us if he messed up once admitted like he's required? Is he lying to us about anything else he doesn't think we'll find? Would he tell a client if he messed up something in their case?

You cannot argue you weren't guilty at this point. You plead guilty. If I was in your position, I'd consult with a lawyer and have him guide me through the process of telling my school. What's going to hurt you is you weren't some dumb 18 year-old when this happened. You don't mature much between 25 and 29.

No matter what though, you need to consult a lawyer. Call your local bar and ask for a referral to a lawyer who specializes in C&F issues.




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