Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
pammy1985
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:10 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby pammy1985 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:08 pm

Does jaywalking fit into this "must disclose" category?

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:38 pm

pammy1985 wrote:Does jaywalking fit into this "must disclose" category?


It depends on how the citation is treated and what the schools ask for. Some schools specifically exempt minor infractions and traffic violations from disclosure. Others say all misdemeanors and felonies. Others word it so broadly I'd be nervous about not disclosing parking tickets.

Further complicating things, some offenses are charged differently in different states. In Texas a traffic violation is considered a misdemeanor criminal defense, it's not that severe in all states. It really could depend on how your state regards the jaywalking citation, where it falls under the penal code.

Sadema
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:11 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby Sadema » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:26 pm

I have a slightly different situation deal with. I've already been accepted to a law school (Case) and have just completed an expensive move to get to Cleveland. My girlfriend back home is checking my mail and found a document from the admissions department (sent to all students as a matter of form) with rather strong language indicating that any admitted students who failed to disclose should really update that record with the school.

My problem is that I do have a record ("Distribution of harmful material to a minor" in Utah, a third-degree felony charge arising from an online-chat with someone under 18). At the time, the attorney I hired ended up suggesting I use a plea in abeyance, which I went with. The conditions were that I pay $250 in fees and not commit a crime for two years. At the time I asked if I would have to disclose this on employment or law school applications (I knew then I planned to be an attorney) and was told no. I met those conditions and everything's been fine since then. As a consequence, I did not list the incident in my application, and again, I'm already accepted, with a significant scholarship.

Now, though, the letter just sent to my home (delivered Friday the 24th, the day I arrived in Cleveland) and various online materials, including this thread, have me pretty concerned about the whole situation. I'm now thinking that my attorney from 5 years ago gave me some bad advice. I plan to meet with the school officials tomorrow, but I would dearly love some advice on how to approach the situation. My greatest concerns, of course, are having my acceptance being reversed or failing to be accepted by the bar in three years.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this?
Last edited by Sadema on Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bass08
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:54 am

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby bass08 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:45 pm

tommytahoe wrote:Nice, thanks for the specifics.

I'm focusing on Boalt, with UC Davis and Hastings as fall-backs (all three of these CA resident schools come with cheaper price tags).
Also included, Stanford (reach), UCLA, Georgetown. I am sure as application time comes I'll get nervous and do a couple more applications...

I am anticipating that the CA Bar's higher standard of disclosure will subsume the law schools' standard, in that it could use what I do or don't disclose on my law school apps as a means of evaluating my "moral character and fitness." (even if the school I attend asks only for non-expunged convictions, eg)
I know, I'd love to reveal only what can be legally asked of me by law schools, but it's the damn "removal proceedings" that would make anyone wonder just what caused the Dept. of Homeland Security to decide they wanted to spend three years trying to get my rehabbed ass out of this country.

I could say "The government tried to deport me for an offense and conviction which may or may not have been real, may or may not have occurred —and if I committed any crime that resulted in that hypothetical charge and conviction, I am not legally required to disclose it to you. To the Bar I am required, but we're not at that stage yet. Also, the DHS lost, so I'm free, and never did anything wrong."


I may be a little late, but I would definitely not say this, at least not the way it's worded here. It sort of makes it sound as if you did something wrong but are trying to be technical and not disclose it anyway. You may not have to disclose the removal proceedings against you, though. I understand that you had your drug charge expunged but that doesn't mean it didn't occur, correct?

I'm not sure what form of relief your immigration attorney got you, but, depending on that, if you wanted to go into it, you could mention why you won your case and how you are sorry for your conviction and learned to appreciate yada yada yada.

Oh, and just because DHS lost doesn't mean you didn't do anything wrong. It means, depending on how you won your case, that the offense (the wrong) you committed wasn't worthy of removing you from the United States, because of X reason.

I'd just be careful of the wording you use because you don't want to sound as if you are guiltless for charges that you were convicted of.

My $0.02

User avatar
tommytahoe
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:46 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby tommytahoe » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:22 pm

To bass08,
that was totally dripping in sarcasm, that last part I wrote, in bold, but thank you for agreeing with me.
That was my clever way of saying that even though the removal proceedings against me were terminated, I can't rightly tell law schools (or the Bar of CA) that there were removal proceedings, but that they failed to determine the nature of the original crime, so I won't tell you what it is.

That is, even though the crime was expunged, and law schools may not be able to see it, the removal proceedings effectively dragged the crime back into the light of day. It would beg the question of adcomms. I would either say "They wrongfully tried to deport me, and damnit, here's how my name was defamed!" (which would basically be lying, and the Bar won't eventually warm to that); OR I say, "OK, here's what happened, here's how I cleared my name and turned myself into a determined and successful student, here's where the removal proceedings against me were terminated, this is now fully in my past..."

I would also find a clever way to incorporate that I am a British/Australian citizen and green card holder, and how this has spurred my interest in immigration and individual rights law... I might get points for some broad notion of diversity as well as citing a particular field of law I wish to pursue.

bass08 wrote:You may not have to disclose the removal proceedings against you, though. I understand that you had your drug charge expunged but that doesn't mean it didn't occur, correct?

I understood that while regular folks, like law school adcomms, could not see the CA conviction (expunged) on my record, they could see the removal proceedings, which followed the expungement. It lasted for three years, and would appear on an FBI check, I know thaat much.
I imagine it would say "Removal proceedings terminated June 2006; Appealed to BIA and remanded to Immigration Court 2008; Termination reaffirmed 2009" Or something like that.

Thanks for the advice. Nobody wants to disclose what they don't need to, but in my state-federaal scenario, I am pretty much precluded from sounding the least bit opaque or obtuse. I am trying to make as much of a personal impression on adcomms as I am trying to make a legal one.

Thanks for the advice...

adiplayer
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 11:22 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby adiplayer » Fri May 21, 2010 11:24 pm

What ever happened to Sadema?

aanderson052783
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:49 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby aanderson052783 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:19 pm

I have a simlar question regarding this topic. I was convicted of a class D felony in 2003 for possession of pseudophedrine (not sure on spelling, basically a drug possession charge). I was thinking about attempting to go to law school, however I am not sure if I would be able to meet the qualifications of Character and Fitness for Indiana Bar admittance and I would like to clarify this question before investing the resources it takes to go to law school. I have attempted to research this myself, but the information I have found has been somewhat conflicting. According to Indiana Code, "Anyone who has been convicted of a felony prima facie shall be deemed lacking the requisite of good moral character as defined in this section." This leads me to believe that I could not, however there is some additional information which discusses conditional admission and I found a document (--LinkRemoved--) published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar titled, "Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements 2010," in which it has a graph that plainly states that a felony conviction will not automatically bar an applicant from admission. Below it does state, "Conviction of felony is prima facie evidence of lack of requisite good moral character. Applicant has the burden to overcome prima facie evidence." Mind you, these rules are only referring to Indiana, and other jurisdictions have different rules, I would just like to know whether I would be able to practice in Indiana if I was able to get into law school. Any information that anyone could provide on the subject would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

texaslawyer
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:02 am

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby texaslawyer » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:28 pm

Your numbers are truly impressive. I agree with the other members of this board. Don't lie about it. My old dead
Grandaddy used to say, "Son, tell the truth. It saves a lot of explaining later on". As usual, he was right. If you
somehow smoke this past the law school you want to attend, when you applied for the bar in whatever state you end
up in would find out. Things would get very ugly in a hurry.

jetsfan
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:27 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby jetsfan » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:11 pm

How extensive exactly is this Bar background check? Do they just search criminal records, or is it similar to a full gov't background check (tax forms, interviews w/ relatives/friends/bosses, etc...)

User avatar
Bosque
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby Bosque » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:06 pm

Mmmmmmm... Necromancy.

ram10
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:16 pm

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby ram10 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:50 am

.
Last edited by ram10 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brock2010
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:01 am

Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby Brock2010 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:59 am

W




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests