Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

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esse est percipi
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Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby esse est percipi » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:16 am

Here is a question of ethics--not of prudence or of what the BAR will think.

Legally, if you got your criminal record expunged you are allowed to act as if the crime never happened--i.e. if someone asks you if you committed a crime, you can say no. Given this, what is the moral difference from answering no to the following two questions (if you have had your criminal record expunged):

1) Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

2) Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Note: this includes crimes that have been expunged.

If it is a law school that is asking these questions, it is within one's legal rights to say no to both (note that this is different if it is the BAR asking, a K-12 education employer, and a few other cases). People often say that it is completely acceptable to say "no" to (1) but a lie to say no to (2). This is also the rationale of the BAR as well (given a few cases that I have looked up).

But, again, what is the moral difference between the two answers? Both are "lies" in the sense that they are "legal fiction"--but both answers are within the legal rights of an applicant. Moreover, these were rights specifically given to people so their criminal record would not be held against them for the rest of their life. To call both (1) and (2) a lie seems to defeat the whole purpose of expungement laws, and to call (2) but not (1) a lie seems grossly inconsistent without any kind of rational basis. Thoughts?

rad lulz
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Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby rad lulz » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:37 am

esse est percipi wrote:Here is a question of ethics--not of prudence or of what the BAR will think.

Legally, if you got your criminal record expunged you are allowed to act as if the crime never happened--i.e. if someone asks you if you committed a crime, you can say no. Given this, what is the moral difference from answering no to the following two questions (if you have had your criminal record expunged):

1) Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

2) Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Note: this includes crimes that have been expunged.

If it is a law school that is asking these questions, it is within one's legal rights to say no to both (note that this is different if it is the BAR asking, a K-12 education employer, and a few other cases). People often say that it is completely acceptable to say "no" to (1) but a lie to say no to (2). This is also the rationale of the BAR as well (given a few cases that I have looked up).

But, again, what is the moral difference between the two answers? Both are "lies" in the sense that they are "legal fiction"--but both answers are within the legal rights of an applicant. Moreover, these were rights specifically given to people so their criminal record would not be held against them for the rest of their life. To call both (1) and (2) a lie seems to defeat the whole purpose of expungement laws, and to call (2) but not (1) a lie seems grossly inconsistent without any kind of rational basis. Thoughts?

lol

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RELIC
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Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby RELIC » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:46 am

esse est percipi wrote:Here is a question of ethics--not of prudence or of what the BAR will think.

Legally, if you got your criminal record expunged you are allowed to act as if the crime never happened--i.e. if someone asks you if you committed a crime, you can say no. Given this, what is the moral difference from answering no to the following two questions (if you have had your criminal record expunged):

1) Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

2) Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Note: this includes crimes that have been expunged.

If it is a law school that is asking these questions, it is within one's legal rights to say no to both (note that this is different if it is the BAR asking, a K-12 education employer, and a few other cases). People often say that it is completely acceptable to say "no" to (1) but a lie to say no to (2). This is also the rationale of the BAR as well (given a few cases that I have looked up).

But, again, what is the moral difference between the two answers? Both are "lies" in the sense that they are "legal fiction"--but both answers are within the legal rights of an applicant. Moreover, these were rights specifically given to people so their criminal record would not be held against them for the rest of their life. To call both (1) and (2) a lie seems to defeat the whole purpose of expungement laws, and to call (2) but not (1) a lie seems grossly inconsistent without any kind of rational basis. Thoughts?

Lol.....the distinction of being "legal" here does not matter because the penalty for lying (or not disclosing) is not criminal. And there is no specific statute that protect your concealment in private situations. If you do this it will come out during C & F and I can almost guarantee that you will have a very, very hard time being approved by the bar association.

esse est percipi
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Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby esse est percipi » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:19 am

^ No, that isn't true at all. *Every* state statute concerning expungement specifically protects concealment in private situations (e.g. employment, housing apps, etc.)

I know that the bar considers the concealment of expunged records as morally wrong--I'm just wondering if anyone can rationally defend this. The law doesn't, employers don't, graduate schools don't, etc. etc.

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RELIC
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Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby RELIC » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:29 am

esse est percipi wrote:^ No, that isn't true at all. *Every* state statute concerning expungement specifically protects concealment in private situations (e.g. employment, housing apps, etc.)

No they protect you from being guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement. That is very different then a statute that affirmatively protects you from concealing your record in private situations. There are some statutes both federal and states that protect individuals from being discriminated against in specific situation (housing, etc.) but those do not apply to law school and bar applications.

esse est percipi
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Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby esse est percipi » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:37 am

RELIC wrote:
esse est percipi wrote:^ No, that isn't true at all. *Every* state statute concerning expungement specifically protects concealment in private situations (e.g. employment, housing apps, etc.)

No they protect you from being guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement. That is very different then a statute that affirmatively protects you from concealing your record in private situations. There are some statutes both federal and states that protect individuals from being discriminated against in specific situation (housing, etc.) but those do not apply to law school and bar applications.



Okay, so would you consider answering "no" to *both* (1) and (2) to be lie? Meaning everyone who has had their records expunged and consequently says to prospective employers that they have never committed a crime is lying? Remember, one of the main reasons for expuqngmenet laws is for this very benefit.

I guess if that's what you're saying, then it's consistent. But then I don't see what the point of expungement is (unless people are okay with being liars).

bp shinners
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Re: Ethics of not disclosing expunged criminal record

Postby bp shinners » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:54 pm

esse est percipi wrote:
RELIC wrote:
esse est percipi wrote:^ No, that isn't true at all. *Every* state statute concerning expungement specifically protects concealment in private situations (e.g. employment, housing apps, etc.)

No they protect you from being guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement. That is very different then a statute that affirmatively protects you from concealing your record in private situations. There are some statutes both federal and states that protect individuals from being discriminated against in specific situation (housing, etc.) but those do not apply to law school and bar applications.



Okay, so would you consider answering "no" to *both* (1) and (2) to be lie? Meaning everyone who has had their records expunged and consequently says to prospective employers that they have never committed a crime is lying? Remember, one of the main reasons for expuqngmenet laws is for this very benefit.

I guess if that's what you're saying, then it's consistent. But then I don't see what the point of expungement is (unless people are okay with being liars).


Expungement is to make your lying legally OK. It doesn't make it morally OK. In both of those cases, you're lying if you say, "No."




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