LEGAL problems and applications

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headease
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LEGAL problems and applications

Postby headease » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:49 pm

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Last edited by headease on Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thecilent
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby thecilent » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:54 pm

This one issue will not be a big deal at all. Just don't get arrested anymore.

DISCLOSE THIS.

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citykitty
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby citykitty » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:56 pm

I would think you need to disclose that. The question will come up on applications to join a state's BAR, and they will want to know even if the record was expunged or sealed.

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paratactical
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby paratactical » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:56 pm

Definitely disclose. One possession arrest that lead to expungement will not negatively impact your admissions. It could, however, negatively impact your ability to sit for the bar if not disclosed, even if expunged.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:57 pm

You must disclose. Schools may not delve deep into your criminal record, but if you fail to disclose this, you may fail C & F.

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helloperson
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby helloperson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:43 am

Disclose for schools that ask about arrests. Do not disclose for schools that only ask about convictions.

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Midnight Rider
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby Midnight Rider » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:47 pm

<redacted>
Last edited by Midnight Rider on Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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citykitty
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby citykitty » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:06 pm

Midnight Rider wrote:Slightly tangent to topic, but a few delinquent coworkers/friends of mine went through this in last year's cycle and wound up disclosing some expunged and sealed records, both juvenile and adult just to be on the safe side. Our biggest question of the whole process was wondering what kinds of search tools the Bar Associations have at their disposal to check backgrounds. If you pay for a FBI background check on yourself and nothing comes up and the similar search function from the state Bureau of Investigation has no record, is there any other way the Bar can/will search your history? At our current job, we are background checked and one friend's record is sparkling and one shows some of the adult stuff, but not all of it and none of the juvenile stuff. Anyone have any insight, as I was always curious as to exactly what the Bar Associations would use other than these databases?

The answer to OP's question is obviously to always disclose and deal with the consequences of your actions, but for discussion's sake, I seek responses to the above.



I was wondering that myself. My husband had a top secret security clearance for several years, so I'm familiar with the lengths the FBI went through to clear him. The C&F questions are in some ways more intrusive. IIRC, the security clearance questionnaire only went back 7 years or maybe 10, not forever. And, I'm pretty sure they didn't care about traffic tickets.

It's weird. The state where I'm likely to practice phrases it's question on the C&F as "have you ever been arrested, taken into custody, or accused, formally or informally of the violation of a law..." The interpretation there is woefully vague. I mean, if I say you stole from me, even if you didn't and there was no proof or record thereof, it seems as if you'd have to say something about it on the application. That seems as though it would be an informal accusation even though nothing would ever come of it.

I still think it's best to err on the side of caution and disclose anything questionable lest it bite you in the butt, but I do wonder about how thoroughly they can dig.

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helloperson
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby helloperson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:02 pm

Midnight Rider wrote:Slightly tangent to topic, but a few delinquent coworkers/friends of mine went through this in last year's cycle and wound up disclosing some expunged and sealed records, both juvenile and adult just to be on the safe side. Our biggest question of the whole process was wondering what kinds of search tools the Bar Associations have at their disposal to check backgrounds. If you pay for a FBI background check on yourself and nothing comes up and the similar search function from the state Bureau of Investigation has no record, is there any other way the Bar can/will search your history? At our current job, we are background checked and one friend's record is sparkling and one shows some of the adult stuff, but not all of it and none of the juvenile stuff. Anyone have any insight, as I was always curious as to exactly what the Bar Associations would use other than these databases?

The answer to OP's question is obviously to always disclose and deal with the consequences of your actions, but for discussion's sake, I seek responses to the above.


Expunged arrests still turn up on law enforcement's background checks, but not a normal employment style background check (this is what I have been told, at least). If you are looking for more information, here's the Yale admissions blog post on the subject: http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissi ... -fire.aspx

Have you ever, either as an adult or juvenile, been cited, arrested, taken into custody, charged with, indicted, convicted or or tried for, or pleaded guilty to, the commission of any felony or misdemeanor or the violation of any law, except minor parking violations, or been the subject of juvenile delinquency or youthful offender proceedings? If you answer yes, state the charge or charges, the disposition thereof and the underlying facts. Although a conviction may have been expunged from the records by an order of the court, it nevertheless should be disclosed in the answer to this question. Please note that you should have available and be prepared to submit or exhibit copies of police and court records regarding any matter you disclose in reply to this question.

What happens is that when you answer this question, the Character and Fitness Committee from your state comes back to us (or whichever law school you graduated from), and asks the Registar or Dean of Students whether your answers match what you disclosed on your applications. Now, if you are observant, you'll notice that our questions don't exactly match the bar question. Guess what? IT DOESN'T MATTER. The bar committees will freak out when they see that your law school application disclosures don't match your bar application disclosures, and they're going to want to know more. They're going to give the new information to your law school, and ask your school (more specifically, the Dean of Admissions) to warrant that you would have still been admitted had s/he known the new information. They're going to ask you why you didn't disclose the information earlier. They're going to go through the rest of your application with a fine-toothed comb. In short, you're going to have to go through a lot of red tape, have a P.O.'d alma mater, and, if what you didn't originally disclose was actually pretty bad, find yourself with a rescinded law degree and/or unable to sit for the bar.


That makes it sound kind of scary, but I would say as long as you do not deliberately lie, you should be okay; e.g. if you list some traffic tickets and you forgot one, or if you left out traffic tickets because an application said to unless they were misdemeanors then you discover after the fact that all minor traffic violations *are* misdemeanors in the state you got them in.

Dean Asha offers this advice, though:

To help you out, here are a few things to consider:

1. If you need to consult an attorney about whether or not to disclose something, then you probably need to disclose it (despite what your attorney tells you).

2. If what you've done is enough to keep you out of law school, it's almost certainly going to keep you from practicing law. You might as well know now, because while getting rejected from law school is bad, graduating from law school with $150K of debt and no way to pay it back is even worse.

3. Business schools don't ask you these kinds of questions.

One last thing. I've read close to around 10,000 files at this point, and to be honest, I've seen very few transgressions that would ipso facto disqualify someone from admission to law school. But here's the deal: a lack of candor, even about an otherwise excusable incident, raises serious questions about your fitness to practice law.

headease
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby headease » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:06 pm

thank you all, lots of great advice here.

as far as the app i am filling out is concerned it states rather ambiguously:

Have you ever been charged and/or convicted of any criminal offense(s) in any criminal proceeding, including a General or Special Court Martial? YES OR NO

Are any such charges pending? YES OR NO

IF YES TO EITHER include court and/or police records confirming the disposition of the case, along with an essay fully explaining the circumstances. Your filewill remain incomplete until we receive the required documentation.

I believe i have not technically been convicted in any criminal proceeding. But as far as i can tell it would be prudent to add an addendum. How ambiguously is an addendum allowed to be crafted?

can i say On X date of 2009 i was given a conditional discharge of a disorderly presons offence in Y place, and satisfactorily completed everything with a pending expungement?
Also what should i attach? should it be the form i recived saying that i successfully completed the Conditional discharge?

sidhesadie
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby sidhesadie » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:23 pm

You definitely need to disclose, because it's charged and/or convicted,and you were definitely CHARGED, whether you were technically 'convicted' or not.
Definitely attach the form stating you successfully completed the conditional discharge...

If you're unsure exactly what they need, I'd email admissions and ask them. I only have a couple traffic tickets from ages ago, but some schools even want 'minor traffic violations', but the wording on one was unclear, so I emailed and asked, they were very nice about it.


As a side note, I don't know what tools the Bar has at their disposal, but I hope I never have to go through a top clearance military vetting...my brother went through it and it's insane. He called my mom in a panic because they were ripping into him because he'd failed to disclose (because he had no idea) that our dad had a felony arrest for a bar fight from 1966 I'm not kidding. No conviction, mind you.

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helloperson
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby helloperson » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:25 pm

headease wrote:thank you all, lots of great advice here.

as far as the app i am filling out is concerned it states rather ambiguously:

Have you ever been charged and/or convicted of any criminal offense(s) in any criminal proceeding, including a General or Special Court Martial? YES OR NO

Are any such charges pending? YES OR NO

IF YES TO EITHER include court and/or police records confirming the disposition of the case, along with an essay fully explaining the circumstances. Your file will remain incomplete until we receive the required documentation.

I believe i have not technically been convicted in any criminal proceeding. But as far as i can tell it would be prudent to add an addendum. How ambiguously is an addendum allowed to be crafted?

can i say On X date of 2009 i was given a conditional discharge of a disorderly persons offense in Y place, and satisfactorily completed everything with a pending expungement?
Also what should i attach? should it be the form i received saying that i successfully completed the Conditional discharge?


If they ask if you've ever been charged, then it would be prudent to disclose. I'm not sure what exactly the line is if the charges were filed by police but never actually brought to court or something like that, but it doesn't seem like your offense is anything law schools will give a fuck about anyway.

Your addendum does not need to go into details of the case. In my view, if they want this they will ask you to send relevant documents along with your addendum. Give the infraction, location of the infraction, date the infraction occurred, and how the infraction was resolved (in other words, what you just wrote is fine).

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Perch
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby Perch » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:24 am

just because now I'm curious, don't some applications ask only if you've been charged/convicted with a misdemeanor/felony, in which case there isn't a need to list any citations? Sure it will turn up with the bar, but if it wasn't asked of you, why provide it?

This all should get standardized at some point, as should the requirements for filing financial aid info (ie. parent's info on the FASFA or not).

edit: not sure if the OP's "conditional discharge" is a citation, but I guess that is how I read it.

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helloperson
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Re: LEGAL problems and applications

Postby helloperson » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:37 pm

Perch wrote:just because now I'm curious, don't some applications ask only if you've been charged/convicted with a misdemeanor/felony, in which case there isn't a need to list any citations? Sure it will turn up with the bar, but if it wasn't asked of you, why provide it?

This all should get standardized at some point, as should the requirements for filing financial aid info (ie. parent's info on the FASFA or not).

edit: not sure if the OP's "conditional discharge" is a citation, but I guess that is how I read it.


Some citations are misdemeanors/felonies.




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