California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

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Anonymous User
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California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:18 pm

Several years ago I was arrested for felony drug possession in Los Angeles. I went through CA's diversion program, which defers judgment until you complete a rehab type program (or fail to do so). I successfully completed my program, and the case was dismissed.

CA penal code 1000.4 http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/1000.4.html:

(a) Any record filed with the Department of Justice shall
indicate the disposition in those cases deferred pursuant to this
chapter. Upon successful completion of a deferred entry of judgment
program, the arrest upon which the judgment was deferred shall be
deemed to have never occurred.
The defendant may indicate in
response to any question concerning his or her prior criminal record
that he or she was not arrested or granted deferred entry of judgment
for the offense
, except as specified in subdivision (b). A record
pertaining to an arrest resulting in successful completion of a
deferred entry of judgment program shall not, without the defendant'
s consent, be used in any way that could result in the denial of any
employment, benefit, license, or certificate.
(b) The defendant shall be advised that, regardless of his or her
successful completion of the deferred entry of judgment program, the
arrest upon which the judgment was deferred may be disclosed by the
Department of Justice in response to any peace officer application
request and that, notwithstanding subdivision (a), this section does
not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the arrest in
response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or
application for a position as a peace officer, as defined in Section
830.


This suggests to me that on my law school applications and on my bar application (for California, at least), I should not disclose anything related to that arrest. However, *some* applications specifically state that you should include expunged entries and/or deferred judgment cases. It seems to me, however, that for CA specifically, I need not indicate anything about the arrest since the ONLY carved out exception is for peace officers. It specifically says that in any questionnaire regarding my criminal record I can indicate that I was NEITHER arrested NOR granted deferred judgment, and that information about this case may not be used to deny me employment, benefit, license or certificate...

I would like to know if anyone has a differing opinion on this matter.

Danneskjöld
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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Danneskjöld » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:24 pm

Everything I have been told is that information of a non-moral turpitude crime typically does not cause major c&f issues. But, even the appearance of an attempt to hide ANYTHING will. Most advice I've heard is to err on the side of disclosure.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby bilbobaggins » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:31 pm

Take a look at the last 10 posts in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=96243&start=100

Schools will not ding you for disclosing this information.

It is possible you will have difficulty with the C&F portion of the bar if you do not disclose on applications that ask you to.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:11 pm

I read those, and it still seems to me that because of the very specific language of the CA statute I quoted regarding this, and because I will be applying to only to the CA bar, I should neither disclose this on my application to law school nor on my bar application, regardless of what those applications say, because the law says that on ANY questionnaire regarding my criminal history, I may legally and truthfully state that I was not arrested nor granted deferred judgment. This will mean that my bar and law school applications will match. This language is stronger and more specific than other states' laws about expunged offenses and deferred judgment / diversion programs, and seems to be trying to make is clearly legal and truthful for anyone having experienced this particular sort of ordeal to never risk any negative repercussions for not disclosing (except in the single case of peace officers.)

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bilbobaggins
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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby bilbobaggins » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I read those, and it still seems to me that because of the very specific language of the CA statute I quoted regarding this, and because I will be applying to only to the CA bar, I should neither disclose this on my application to law school nor on my bar application, regardless of what those applications say, because the law says that on ANY questionnaire regarding my criminal history, I may legally and truthfully state that I was not arrested nor granted deferred judgment. This will mean that my bar and law school applications will match. This language is stronger and more specific than other states' laws about expunged offenses and deferred judgment / diversion programs, and seems to be trying to make is clearly legal and truthful for anyone having experienced this particular sort of ordeal to never risk any negative repercussions for not disclosing (except in the single case of peace officers.)


Are you 100% certain this won't come up when the bar does it's C&F investigation? CA's is notoriously tough.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:38 pm

bilbobaggins wrote:
Are you 100% certain this won't come up when the bar does it's C&F investigation? CA's is notoriously tough.


Seems like if it did come up even though I did not disclose it in either my school app or on the bar app, then since CA law clearly states I was within my rights not to disclose (it says ANY questionnaire regarding crim history), and further, since it states that any info obtained about the case could not be used to deny me benefit, employment, license or certificate, that even if they found anything on my record about it, they would not be able to use my omission or the fact of the matter against me.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:40 pm

However, for a different state's bar, or for a federal employment app, or even for a law school app where the school is in a different state, i maybe should disclose. this is where it gets fuzzy for me. For instance, Columbia's app says to disclose expunged cases or deferred cases. I perhaps should disclose it there because it is outside the jurisdiction of CA law.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:25 pm

You also should be aware that this could sting you twice if not disclosed; bars tend to ask about substance abuse issues. This is a piece of paper raising questions about claims that you would make that you have no substance issues. The bar *will* find pieces of paper if they exist.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You also should be aware that this could sting you twice if not disclosed; bars tend to ask about substance abuse issues. This is a piece of paper raising questions about claims that you would make that you have no substance issues. The bar *will* find pieces of paper if they exist.


By the time I take the bar exam this will be fifteen years in the past. It doesn't raise such an issue, and it would be illegal for the CA Bar to use this information to deny me a license, as the statute clearly states. The statute says I can lawfully and truthfully indicate that I was never arrested nor granted deferred judgment. The law says that the arrest is deemed never to have occurred. Even those apps that say to include deferred judgments I may answer "no" to, with regard to this particular situation, because the language of the statute is so specific here. If it were deferred judgment in a state with a less specific statute, then I would probably have to disclose it, but I don't think I need to for CA. The only case in which I would need to disclose this info is for a state other than CA or the federal government.

I don't have access to the Moral Character portion of the CA bar application, but someone said on TLS (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12441):

"The California Bar Exam application specifically states that an applicant with a sealed or expunged juvenile record is not responsible for disclosing that information, provided that the applicant's record was sealed within California's jurisdiction. I just thought you would like to know that there may be some cases when a law school applicant may not need to inform a law school regarding an expunged or sealed record."

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bilbobaggins
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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby bilbobaggins » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You also should be aware that this could sting you twice if not disclosed; bars tend to ask about substance abuse issues. This is a piece of paper raising questions about claims that you would make that you have no substance issues. The bar *will* find pieces of paper if they exist.


By the time I take the bar exam this will be fifteen years in the past. It doesn't raise such an issue, and it would be illegal for the CA Bar to use this information to deny me a license, as the statute clearly states. The statute says I can lawfully and truthfully indicate that I was never arrested nor granted deferred judgment. The law says that the arrest is deemed never to have occurred. Even those apps that say to include deferred judgments I may answer "no" to, with regard to this particular situation, because the language of the statute is so specific here. If it were deferred judgment in a state with a less specific statute, then I would probably have to disclose it, but I don't think I need to for CA. The only case in which I would need to disclose this info is for a state other than CA or the federal government.

I don't have access to the Moral Character portion of the CA bar application, but someone said on TLS (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12441):

"The California Bar Exam application specifically states that an applicant with a sealed or expunged juvenile record is not responsible for disclosing that information, provided that the applicant's record was sealed within California's jurisdiction. I just thought you would like to know that there may be some cases when a law school applicant may not need to inform a law school regarding an expunged or sealed record."


I would ask the Bar about this before taking someone's word on TLS.

Also - you need to look at how the statute has been interpreted by the courts to be 100% certain that your reading of it is correct.

Anonymous User
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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:22 pm

Re asking the bar... good idea.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:24 pm

Called the ca bar, and no, I don't need to disclose this.

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Re: California Deferred Judgement, C&F question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:34 pm

BTW - the fact that I don't need to disclose this says nothing about bars besides CA, or situations besides my specific one, and it says nothing about Federal employment applications. However, the woman at CA Bar explained that if someone has an expunged or deferred judgment in another state, they can submit a statute to CA bar that clarifies that they do not legally need to disclose the situation. They can submit the statute in lieu of submitting an actual disclosure. This is so that when they do find the record when they're doing the background check, they know they must disregard the information due to the cited statute. They do end up knowing about it the situation no matter how you look at it, but they cannot hold it against you whether you disclosed it or not, and turning in a statute in lieu of a disclosure is completely fine and normal.

She also said that due to an abundance of caution, many students DO disclose things they don't need to. This does not harm them at all, but it is not necessary.

I will not disclose this on any of my law school apps because I am not legally required to do so, and by disclosing on my apps I raise more red flags than I would by *not* disclosing.

Anyway - I would suggest that anyone with a similar situation CALL THE BAR or BARS TO WHICH YOU WILL ONE DAY SEEK ADMISSION. The CA bar was very friendly and forthcoming with information about this. I would not assume that my situation applies to anyone else in any other state or with any other kind of violation.




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