District Court Background Check

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Throwaway165688
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:36 pm

District Court Background Check

Postby Throwaway165688 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:44 pm

I've read a few threads and questions about this, but wanted to ask about my own situation and get any potential feedback.

I will be interviewing for a clerkship with a District Court. I have 2 years under my belt as a trial level state court clerk. About a year ago (during my first term as a trial level clerk, and before I applied or took my current position in my second term as a clerk for a different judge) I was accused of shoplifting at a major chain retailer. Despite not leaving the store with merchandise, they filed a criminal charge. It was summary level retail theft, I plead not guilty and went before the magistrate, explained my situation (that it was a misunderstanding, though obviously the store didn't feel this way), performed some community service, and the charge was dropped.

So basically, summary level theft charge, and the charge was dropped. The dropped charge is in a different, but neighboring, state from the one where I have the District Court Clerkship interview. Is there a background check that would get into this, and would this prevent me from getting the position?

Any feedback would be great - thanks guys.

Anonymous User
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:55 pm

I can't speak to anything specific, though I imagine few district courts do a background check. But try to envision the worst case here. The worst case is a background check turns up dropped charges. Not a conviction, not even for a misdemeanor. Not a stipulation or a no contest. Just charges brought and dismissed.

I don't think this would be a basic for denying a security clearance or failing a C&F, so why would it be an issue for a district court?

Throwaway165688
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby Throwaway165688 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can't speak to anything specific, though I imagine few district courts do a background check. But try to envision the worst case here. The worst case is a background check turns up dropped charges. Not a conviction, not even for a misdemeanor. Not a stipulation or a no contest. Just charges brought and dismissed.

I don't think this would be a basic for denying a security clearance or failing a C&F, so why would it be an issue for a district court?


When you put it that way, it seems like it wouldn't be an issue. But I worry, so I'm glad from a neutral perspective it seems like not a big deal. I appreciate your answer, thank you.

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rpupkin
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby rpupkin » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:12 pm

Throwaway165688 wrote:About a year ago (during my first term as a trial level clerk, and before I applied or took my current position in my second term as a clerk for a different judge) I was accused of shoplifting at a major chain retailer. Despite not leaving the store with merchandise, they filed a criminal charge. It was summary level retail theft, I plead not guilty and went before the magistrate, explained my situation (that it was a misunderstanding, though obviously the store didn't feel this way), performed some community service, and the charge was dropped.

So the DA elected to prosecute you for shoplifting? How exactly did you end up in front of a judge in the first place?

CanadianWolf
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:00 pm

The shoplifting adjudication can become a problem for a security clearance if you try to conceal it on your background information form. Concealment is a form of dishonesty.

Anonymous User
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The shoplifting adjudication can become a problem for a security clearance if you try to conceal it on your background information form. Concealment is a form of dishonesty.


(First replying person in the thread)... Undoubtedly.. I assumed a background check conducted independently of any affirmative declarations on a form. This should have been disclosed prior to law school applications and would be an issue for a C&F or security if it came up. I assume OP wasn't stupid enough not to disclose this in their original law school apps.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby UnicornHunter » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The shoplifting adjudication can become a problem for a security clearance if you try to conceal it on your background information form. Concealment is a form of dishonesty.


(First replying person in the thread)... Undoubtedly.. I assumed a background check conducted independently of any affirmative declarations on a form. This should have been disclosed prior to law school applications and would be an issue for a C&F or security if it came up. I assume OP wasn't stupid enough not to disclose this in their original law school apps.


Which seems like a strange assumption given that it happened a year after OP graduated law school.

Edit: but I agree with your overall point, only way OP gets burned on this is if he doesn't disclose it when/if asked.

Anonymous User
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:08 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Throwaway165688 wrote:About a year ago (during my first term as a trial level clerk, and before I applied or took my current position in my second term as a clerk for a different judge) I was accused of shoplifting at a major chain retailer. Despite not leaving the store with merchandise, they filed a criminal charge. It was summary level retail theft, I plead not guilty and went before the magistrate, explained my situation (that it was a misunderstanding, though obviously the store didn't feel this way), performed some community service, and the charge was dropped.

So the DA elected to prosecute you for shoplifting? How exactly did you end up in front of a judge in the first place?


OP here (accidental anonymous) - I went in front of a magistrate (same level guy in my state who handles traffic tickets, etc). The store said that they always, always file criminal charges for shoplifting. I told the magistrate that I was not shoplifting, but was happy to perform community service if he and the store wanted me to. I performed community service and the charge was dismissed.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: District Court Background Check

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The shoplifting adjudication can become a problem for a security clearance if you try to conceal it on your background information form. Concealment is a form of dishonesty.


(First replying person in the thread)... Undoubtedly.. I assumed a background check conducted independently of any affirmative declarations on a form. This should have been disclosed prior to law school applications and would be an issue for a C&F or security if it came up. I assume OP wasn't stupid enough not to disclose this in their original law school apps.


OP here (accidental anonymous) - I would never lie about it. It happened after law school, and after I was admitted to the bar, so I have never had cause to disclose the charge. If there was a form to fill out for the clerkship that asked if I had ever been charged with a summary offense, I would answer yes. I just wanted to know if anyone had ever heard of someone being precluded from a job like a District Court Clerkship because a dropped charge like that existed on their record.

davidagnew
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Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:40 pm

Re: District Court Background Check

Postby davidagnew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:10 pm

Not sure what will turn when they do their checks, but a federal judge can hire whomever she wants. Big story a year or two ago about an ex-bank robber who went to law school and clerked for DC Cir judge




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