Expungement

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Expungement

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:53 pm

I live in TX. In 2006, someone filed a police report charging me with theft. I was never arrested nor convicted as I was innocent of charges. Is it possible to have police report expunged even though there was no arrest?

I called Police Department and they told me that it is not possible to expunge open records request.

sev

Bronze
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:34 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby sev » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:51 pm

cole558 wrote:I live in TX. In 2006, someone filed a police report charging me with theft. I was never arrested nor convicted as I was innocent of charges. Is it possible to have police report expunged even though there was no arrest?

I called Police Department and they told me that it is not possible to expunge open records request.

They're right. Police reports are public records. That's why the one involving Heidi Cruz was never sealed and was a big hit in the tabloids during the election.

Good news: police reports don't show up on any standard commercial background check I know of and unless you're looking for job with a TS clearance or running for president I doubt you'll ever have to disclose this. Anyone looking for it would have to know about it first or know where to look.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:01 pm

lol I do not want to run for president; just go to law school. Why is it that if one is arrested, one can have record expunged? Yet, I cannot have police record expunged? Makes no sense.

Given that this involved theft, I am afraid that Bar Examiners will look negatively upon it if they find out. Even though I did NOTHING WRONG.

sev wrote:
cole558 wrote:I live in TX. In 2006, someone filed a police report charging me with theft. I was never arrested nor convicted as I was innocent of charges. Is it possible to have police report expunged even though there was no arrest?

I called Police Department and they told me that it is not possible to expunge open records request.

They're right. Police reports are public records. That's why the one involving Heidi Cruz was never sealed and was a big hit in the tabloids during the election.

Good news: police reports don't show up on any standard commercial background check I know of and unless you're looking for job with a TS clearance or running for president I doubt you'll ever have to disclose this. Anyone looking for it would have to know about it first or know where to look.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Expungement

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:06 pm

They won’t; they know a police report isn’t a conviction or proof of anything. Plus it was 11-12 years ago; even if you’d been convicted you likely wouldn’t have a problem.

Cmoney $$

New
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:30 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby Cmoney $$ » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:11 pm

sev wrote:
cole558 wrote:I live in TX. In 2006, someone filed a police report charging me with theft. I was never arrested nor convicted as I was innocent of charges. Is it possible to have police report expunged even though there was no arrest?

I called Police Department and they told me that it is not possible to expunge open records request.

They're right. Police reports are public records. That's why the one involving Heidi Cruz was never sealed and was a big hit in the tabloids during the election.

Good news: police reports don't show up on any standard commercial background check I know of and unless you're looking for job with a TS clearance or running for president I doubt you'll ever have to disclose this. Anyone looking for it would have to know about it first or know where to look.


Fyi, I run background checks for the Army, police reports do not come back even for a TS. The only records that come back from the FBI are arrest records. The only way someone would know to look is if they checked out everywhere you've ever lived, worked, or gone to school and ran a police record check at every police station (municipal, city, county) in each specific area. We only do this when we get a hit on fingerprints or DNA. It's simply too expensive to do for everyone.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:20 pm

Wow. Thanks guys! I just received a call from a reputable lawyer here in TX. He told me that it is NOT possible to get this expunged because it did not rise to level of an arrest. Therefore, there is nothing that can be done.

Law School Application asks: Have you ever been convicted of an offense, placed on probation, or granted deferred adjudication or any type of pretrial diversion? You must report any such offenses involving alcohol or drugs. You must report any failure to appear conviction resulting from any offense. You must report any conviction for failure to maintain financial responsibility (legally required auto insurance). You may exclude only Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.

I suppose I can answer NO to this. Not really sure what meaning of "pretrial diversion" is.

sev

Bronze
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:34 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby sev » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:25 pm

Cmoney $$ wrote:Fyi, I run background checks for the Army, police reports do not come back even for a TS. The only records that come back from the FBI are arrest records. The only way someone would know to look is if they checked out everywhere you've ever lived, worked, or gone to school and ran a police record check at every police station (municipal, city, county) in each specific area. We only do this when we get a hit on fingerprints or DNA. It's simply too expensive to do for everyone.

Yeah, it'll never show up but he might have to disclose it via the interview for a TS? I assume there's some blanket catch-all question.

cole558 wrote:I suppose I can answer NO to this. Not really sure what meaning of "pretrial diversion" is.

Pretrial diversion is a program where, if you've been formally charged with a crime by a prosecutor, you can complete a set of requirements and never be convicted. It's like taking a defensive driving class to get out of a speeding ticket.

There's no law school application where you'll have to disclose being accused of a crime by someone other than a DA/prosecutor.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:42 pm

Ok. I was also fired by the employer that filed the charges. Question about employment only deals "within last 10 years." Can they ask me about this even though it happened more than 10 years ago?

I am sorry if I seem paranoid. I do not want to invest time in LSAT prep or worse, Law School, if I will not be admitted to practice.

User avatar
unsweetened

Silver
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:12 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby unsweetened » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:41 pm

cole558 wrote:Ok. I was also fired by the employer that filed the charges. Question about employment only deals "within last 10 years." Can they ask me about this even though it happened more than 10 years ago?

I am sorry if I seem paranoid. I do not want to invest time in LSAT prep or worse, Law School, if I will not be admitted to practice.

I have reason to believe that something like that is not going to be fatal to your aspirations to become a lawyer, but the important thing is to be candid and disclose. There will be opportunity to explain the situation.
I was in one of those fun character and fitness meetings held by the state bar and there was an example of someone who robbed a bank passing C&F.

minnbills

Gold
Posts: 3194
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby minnbills » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:48 pm

You're going to be fine. You should definitely disclose whatever happened on your law school application though. Given the facts they're not going to hold it against you.

if you don't disclose it now, it could be an issue later. You will almost certainly have to disclose it on your bar application; and a common part of bar apps is they will compare your bar app to your law school app (yes, the state bar will ask your law school for a copy of your application). If there is a difference between the two apps that could cause you some problems.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

I will disclose only if mandatory. I am going through 1) law school app 2) Intent to Study Law and 3) Bar Exam application and none seem to require that I disclose. One of the questions would apply but it only asks for incidents within the last 10 years. This happened 12 years ago. Should I open a bag of warms if not necessary?

minnbills wrote:You're going to be fine. You should definitely disclose whatever happened on your law school application though. Given the facts they're not going to hold it against you.

if you don't disclose it now, it could be an issue later. You will almost certainly have to disclose it on your bar application; and a common part of bar apps is they will compare your bar app to your law school app (yes, the state bar will ask your law school for a copy of your application). If there is a difference between the two apps that could cause you some problems.

albanach

Silver
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby albanach » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:57 pm

cole558 wrote:I will disclose only if mandatory. I am going through 1) law school app 2) Intent to Study Law and 3) Bar Exam application and none seem to require that I disclose. One of the questions would apply but it only asks for incidents within the last 10 years. This happened 12 years ago. Should I open a bag of warms if not necessary?

minnbills wrote:You're going to be fine. You should definitely disclose whatever happened on your law school application though. Given the facts they're not going to hold it against you.

if you don't disclose it now, it could be an issue later. You will almost certainly have to disclose it on your bar application; and a common part of bar apps is they will compare your bar app to your law school app (yes, the state bar will ask your law school for a copy of your application). If there is a difference between the two apps that could cause you some problems.


Have you checked every bar entrance application in every state? And every law school application?

If the law school application _could_ be read as requesting this, and you don't enter it, you are opening yourself up to a potentially huge mess later. One that is many orders of magnitude more problematic than disclosing this now.

The NCBE template C&F form asks:

"Have you ever been terminated, suspended, disciplined, laid-off, or permitted to resign in lieu of termination from any job?" No ten year restriction on this.

You are additionally asked

"Have you ever been cited for, arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any violation of any law, other than a case that was resolved in juvenile court? Include matters that have been dismissed, expunged, subjected to a diversion or deferred prosecution program, or otherwise set aside."

The application requires candor. To be safe, over-disclose. If a question is open to interpretation, you should not be deciding if your disclosure is required, at least not without the advice of the school, the C&F committee at the bar, or of counsel. And keep, until you retire, copies of whatever advice you do rely upon in case it is later questioned.

minnbills

Gold
Posts: 3194
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby minnbills » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:07 pm

cole558 wrote:I will disclose only if mandatory. I am going through 1) law school app 2) Intent to Study Law and 3) Bar Exam application and none seem to require that I disclose. One of the questions would apply but it only asks for incidents within the last 10 years. This happened 12 years ago. Should I open a bag of warms if not necessary?

minnbills wrote:You're going to be fine. You should definitely disclose whatever happened on your law school application though. Given the facts they're not going to hold it against you.

if you don't disclose it now, it could be an issue later. You will almost certainly have to disclose it on your bar application; and a common part of bar apps is they will compare your bar app to your law school app (yes, the state bar will ask your law school for a copy of your application). If there is a difference between the two apps that could cause you some problems.


I understand your concern but from what I remember of the applications they are worded broadly. You're not opening a bag of worms - no one is going to care about this. But if you don't disclose it, that will create a problem.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:18 pm

Great point. I had not given thought to NCBE. I did a little research and called NCBE directly. Texas does NOT use NCBE's Character & Fitness Service. Therefore I do not need to answer their questions. So far, I am looking at the following C&F application: 1) law school application 2) Intent to Study Law application and 3) Texas Bar application. Are there any other applications that I should check out. I do not intend on practicing anywhere outside of Texas.

After reviewing all questions, I think I can truthfully answer NO to these questions. How would I even go about disclosing this if none of the questions address issue? It seems like I would be opening a bag of worms for no reason.

Here are the relevant C&F questions.
LS Application
1. Have you ever been disciplined in any way for any matter by any college, university, law school, or other institution of higher learning, or by any professor, administrator, employee, or entity representing any college, university, law school, or other institution of higher learning, or have you been allowed to withdraw from such an institution to avoid such discipline, whether or not the record of such action was retained in your file? (Discipline includes, without limitation, a letter or other written notice of reprimand or warning, suspension, expulsion, adjustment of grade, assignment of community service, any form of probation, or any other adverse action.) (Entity includes, without limitation, residential facilities or other facilities owned or managed by a college, university, law school, or other institution of higher learning.)

2. Have you ever been convicted of an offense, placed on probation, or granted deferred adjudication or any type of pretrial diversion? You must report any such offenses involving alcohol or drugs. You must report any failure to appear conviction resulting from any offense. You must report any conviction for failure to maintain financial responsibility (legally required auto insurance). You may exclude only Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.

3. Have you, within the last ten (10) years, been arrested, cited or ticketed for, or charged with any violation of the law? You must report any offenses involving alcohol or drugs. You must report any failure to appear charge or warrant resulting from any such offense. You must report any failure to maintain financial responsibility (legally required auto insurance), arrest, citation, ticket, or charge. You may exclude only Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.

Intent to Study Law
1. Have you ever been convicted of an offense, placed on probation, or granted deferred adjudication or any type of pretrial diversion? You must report any such offenses involving alcohol or drugs. You must report any failure to appear conviction resulting from any offense. You must report any conviction for failure to maintain financial responsibility (legally required auto insurance). You may exclude only Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.
2. Have you, within the last 10 years, been arrested, cited or ticketed for, or charged with any violation of the law? You must report any such offenses involving alcohol or drugs. You must report any failure to appear charge or warrant resulting from any such offense. You must report any failure to maintain financial responsibility (legally required auto insurance) arrest, citation, ticket or charge. You may exclude only Class C misdemeanor traffic violations.
3. Are you currently the target or subject of a grand jury or other governmental agency investigation?

Bar Application
1. Since filing my Declaration of Intention to Study Law, have you been formally charged with any violation of law, excluding cases which have been dismissed for reasons other than technical defects in the charging instrument; cases in which you have been found not guilty; minor traffic violations; cases in which the record of arrest or conviction has been expunged by court order; pardoned offenses; and Class C misdemeanors?
2. Since the filing of your Declaration of Intention to Study Law, have you become the target or subject of a grand jury or other governmental agency investigation?

albanach

Silver
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby albanach » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:24 pm

cole558 wrote:Great point. I had not given thought to NCBE.


So, you only intend to apply to one school and will only ever work in one state?

You asked for advice. Everyone has said if there's any ambiguity, you should disclose.

I am not a Texas attorney. I recommend you consult one before proceeding down your current route.

Here's what I see on the Texas C&F form:

Have you ever been disbarred, suspended from practice, disciplined, disqualified, placed on a diversion program, or allowed to resign in lieu of disciplinary action, or has your license ever been qualified or conditioned in any way, as a member of any profession, licensed occupation, or as the holder of any public office?

Have there ever been any formal or informal charges, complaints, or grievances filed (regardless of the outcome) concerning your conduct as a member of any profession, licensed occupation, or as the holder of any public office?


Here's a comment from the University of Houston on the C&F process:

Q: I am afraid that if I disclose, the committee or State Bar will not let me practice.
A: Choosing not to disclose something within the scope of the questions is unacceptable; and once the failure to disclose surfaces, this choice could result in sanctions up to and including degree revocation and disbarment from practice. When in doubt, disclose and explain the circumstances. It is better to do so than to explain later why you did not disclose. Even minor matters, when combined with deceit, can become serious.

http://www.law.uh.edu/admissions/apply- ... itness.asp

albanach

Silver
Posts: 1348
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby albanach » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:33 pm

More wise words from the University of Houston:

The character and fitness section of your application is a very important first step towards becoming a licensed attorney. While most applicants complete these questions carefully and honestly, it is our experience that some applicants do not. Students who attend law school in Texas and plan to take the Texas bar exam begin the licensure process early in the fall of the first-year of law school. Part of that application process involves submitting to the Texas Board of Law Examiners a copy of the law school application so that the BLE can make sure that applicants answered our character and fitness questions accurately. (Other states have similar processes.) Each year a portion of our incoming first-year students must come forward after the start of classes to amend their applications because they did not accurately complete these questions. These students must go through a process to gather their records, amend their applications, and often meet with the Application Disclosure Subcommittee for a hearing, which often leads to a disciplinary sanction. This process can be time consuming and stressful, and it is not the way that any student wants to begin law school.

The typical incidents that applicants must disclose do not prevent admission, and applicants who fully disclose during the application process can rest easy knowing that their obligations have been fulfilled. I know applicants are sometimes embarrassed by incidents from their past, but it is much better to accurately disclose these matters in your application than to have to meet with members of the admissions committee face-to-face to explain not only the incidents themselves, but also why you failed to disclose them truthfully in the first place. Failure to disclose is itself considered as a character issue, and accurate disclosure is a demonstration of good character.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The failure to disclose an act or event such as the ones described below is often more significant and leads to more serious consequences than the act or event itself. Failure to provide truthful answers or failure to promptly inform the Office of Admissions of any changes to your answers due to an incident that occurs after you submit your application may result in revocation of admission, disciplinary action by the UH Law Center, or denial of permission to practice law by the state in which you seek admission. Please note, the character and fitness questions in our application (reprinted below in red) are very broad, and any exceptions should be construed very narrowly. When in doubt you should always err on the side of FULL DISCLOSURE.


I'm done now. Do what you want. Don't say you were not sufficiently cautioned.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby cole558 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:38 pm

Thank you! I missed that question entirely. I was looking at wrong version of Texas C&F. S***. It looks like I will need to disclose unless I find some way to expunge these records which is unlikely since only a police report was filed. I am screwed.

[quote="albanach"]More wise words from the University of Houston:

minnbills

Gold
Posts: 3194
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby minnbills » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:40 pm

+1

As someone who's been through this process (twice), I will tell you the most important thing is disclose, disclose, disclose.

No one will hold the underlying issue against you (it doesn't even sound like you did something that bad). But it will absolutely be an issue if a) there is an inconsistency between your law school app and your bar app or b) you fail to disclose something.

CanadianWolf

Diamond
Posts: 10714
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:40 pm

Were you fired or did you resign ?

My impression is that your employer felt certain that you committed employee theft & had to file a police report in order to make a claim with the employer's insurance company.

You need to disclose, but any state bar C&F may contact the employer--so keep that in mind when fashioning your C&F response.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Expungement

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:36 am

cole558 wrote:Thank you! I missed that question entirely. I was looking at wrong version of Texas C&F. S***. It looks like I will need to disclose unless I find some way to expunge these records which is unlikely since only a police report was filed. I am screwed.

You're not screwed. Lots of people have blips in their background. Yes, it's theft-related, but it's really old and there's no conviction and you might have had to disclose anyway with regard to employment and leaving that job. No one will care.

Hennessy

Gold
Posts: 2516
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:54 pm

Re: Expungement

Postby Hennessy » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:20 pm

cole558 wrote:Thank you! I missed that question entirely. I was looking at wrong version of Texas C&F. S***. It looks like I will need to disclose unless I find some way to expunge these records which is unlikely since only a police report was filed. I am screwed.

I have been in a similar (but worse) circumstance. PM me if you want me to assuage your worries.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: tootitorbootit and 14 guests