clerkship background check question

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 11:06 am

So I made the mistake of getting drunk and arrested for property damage in december. I did not get convicted or plead guilty but I got into a diversion program, where I had to pay restitution, do community service, etc. I am starting a federal staff clerk position later this summer. As part of the job, I have to do a FBI fingerprint background check. The fingerprinting will not be done until after I start.

Because of the diversion program, by the time I do the background check the charges will be dismissed. Basically, my question is, should I tell them ahead of time or just do the background check and wait and see if they ask me about it.

Any advice would be appreciated, in general or specific. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 11:24 am

On your A078 it will ask if you have been convicted, imprisoned, on probation, or on parole and "are you now under charges for violation of the law." If yours doesn't fall under those two, leave it out. If not, obviously disclose.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:On your A078 it will ask if you have been convicted, imprisoned, on probation, or on parole and "are you now under charges for violation of the law." If yours doesn't fall under those two, leave it out. If not, obviously disclose.


OP here. Okay. I had filled that out before when I interviewed and wasn't sure if I would have to fill it out again.

But thanks. That answers the question. Obvious follow up: how much will they care?

thanks again

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 11:50 am

A note on the process: When I was clerking, I saw the (federal) judge receive a negative employment background check result (albeit on an intern). A medium-sized envelope came for the Judge, and when we opened it, it contained a printout of the FBI background check results with only very basic information (the charge, the date, the disposition, and the sentence), along with a cover letter from I believe the court's HR department to the effect of: since it was a misdemeanor, this does not preclude the intern from working for the federal courts, but we are providing this information to you so that you can make a discretionary hiring decision. Ultimately the judge makes the final call. The crime was a three-year-old misdemeanor DUI--and the judge tried, but was unable, to get more information about the circumstances of the crime (I believe he called the FBI, but they stated that only the state court with jurisdiction had the full case information). He ultimately decided that he didn't have a problem with hiring the intern anyway.

I probably wouldn't offer it up unless you were asked about your criminal history anywhere in the application. If you filled out the application prior to your arrest, and there was any sort of criminal history question, I would disclose this to the judge before you start (with a good explanation). Even if the question was whether you have been convicted of a crime, I would still answer "yes", and then explain the diversion program disposition. While you were technically never "convicted," and the charge was technically "dismissed," the diversion program disposition is still going to show up on the background check. It will not just say "dismissed," it will probably say "diversion program completed - dismissed" or something to that effect. If you answer "no," the judge might see that as an effort to deceive, since a diversion program completion is different than a straight dismissal, so I would just say "yes" and offer to explain.

If you decide not to disclose, since the background check will not be done until after you start, you will almost certainly be called in by the judge to talk about it when the results come back, so you had better be ready for that conversation. (Try not to beat yourself up too much--shit happens. If you legitimately took a lesson away from the situation and made some changes, I think you should be fine--but of course it will really depend on the judge.) Good luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 12:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:A note on the process: When I was clerking, I saw the (federal) judge receive a negative employment background check result (albeit on an intern). A medium-sized envelope came for the Judge, and when we opened it, it contained a printout of the FBI background check results with only very basic information (the charge, the date, the disposition, and the sentence), along with a cover letter from I believe the court's HR department to the effect of: since it was a misdemeanor, this does not preclude the intern from working for the federal courts, but we are providing this information to you so that you can make a discretionary hiring decision. Ultimately the judge makes the final call. The crime was a three-year-old misdemeanor DUI--and the judge tried, but was unable, to get more information about the circumstances of the crime (I believe he called the FBI, but they stated that only the state court with jurisdiction had the full case information). He ultimately decided that he didn't have a problem with hiring the intern anyway.

I probably wouldn't offer it up unless you were asked about your criminal history anywhere in the application. If you filled out the application prior to your arrest, and there was any sort of criminal history question, I would disclose this to the judge before you start (with a good explanation). Even if the question was whether you have been convicted of a crime, I would still answer "yes", and then explain the diversion program disposition. While you were technically never "convicted," and the charge was technically "dismissed," the diversion program disposition is still going to show up on the background check. It will not just say "dismissed," it will probably say "diversion program completed - dismissed" or something to that effect. If you answer "no," the judge might see that as an effort to deceive, since a diversion program completion is different than a straight dismissal, so I would just say "yes" and offer to explain.

If you decide not to disclose, since the background check will not be done until after you start, you will almost certainly be called in by the judge to talk about it when the results come back, so you had better be ready for that conversation. (Try not to beat yourself up too much--shit happens. If you legitimately took a lesson away from the situation and made some changes, I think you should be fine--but of course it will really depend on the judge.) Good luck.


Thanks for this reply. I really appreciate it. I have definitely learned a lesson and changed as a result. It has been so stressful thinking about how hard I worked to get this job and then possibly losing it because of one dumb night. I did have a question like that during the interview process and I think I will have to fill out the same form again.

I am thinking on the form I will provide my explanation. I am going to be a staff clerk so there is no specific judge but the head of the staff attorney office. Is any need to reach out more personally to him or to just disclose it on the AO78?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 21, 2018 11:52 pm

Just to offer up a counter to the above, I clerked for two federal judges and honestly filled out the A078 and disclosed a previous DUI. I know, for sure, that my first Judge never received anything about it and must not have read my disclosure. I was fingerprinted of course but nothing ever came to his office. For various reasons, I know he didn’t know. The second one, same situation, and I never discussed anything with him. I think the JA would have told me if something came in since we were close, but I can’t be 100% sure. (I know judges that do FISA have security clearance issues for everyone, which may be the above situation). Anyways, can’t say why but the narrative above isn’t always the case, apparently.

Also, as a clerk, it likely will come weeks/months into clerkship so just as a pragmatic thing, its unlikely you’ll be let go as you’re already entrenched and hopefully engratiated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 22, 2018 12:53 pm

I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 22, 2018 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?


Was tested for one and not for another. Both federal. Which means you aren’t going to be able to determine with certitude. I hate pious preachy incredibly fucking sanctimonious posts that fill these threads but best taking a month off man.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 22, 2018 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?


Was tested for one and not for another. Both federal. Which means you aren’t going to be able to determine with certitude. I hate pious preachy incredibly fucking sanctimonious posts that fill these threads but best taking a month off man.


Thanks for the heads up. Was it urine or hair? And what was the timeline like—day 1? Or prior to starting?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?


Was tested for one and not for another. Both federal. Which means you aren’t going to be able to determine with certitude. I hate pious preachy incredibly fucking sanctimonious posts that fill these threads but best taking a month off man.


Thanks for the heads up. Was it urine or hair? And what was the timeline like—day 1? Or prior to starting?


WTF!!! I've never heard of drug testing for a clerkship. How common is this? shoot man, SHOOT!

Anonymous User
Posts: 316638
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?


Was tested for one and not for another. Both federal. Which means you aren’t going to be able to determine with certitude. I hate pious preachy incredibly fucking sanctimonious posts that fill these threads but best taking a month off man.


Thanks for the heads up. Was it urine or hair? And what was the timeline like—day 1? Or prior to starting?


WTF!!! I've never heard of drug testing for a clerkship. How common is this? shoot man, SHOOT!


LOL.

Anyways, it was urine. If I remember correctly I went in a week before I started to fill out all the paperwork and get fingerprinted. I was then given a few days to go to some facility and do it. However, it was clear I could have done all of that on "day 1" and then given a few days to go do the test (maybe 48 hours?).

BlackAndOrange84

Bronze
Posts: 197
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:06 am

Re: clerkship background check question

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Thu May 24, 2018 6:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a similar question about drug tests for federal clerkships. It looks like from some past posts that people have reported not being tested. Has anything changed in the past few years? Has anyone ever been tested? If so, when? Is it a judge-by-judge situation?


Was tested for one and not for another. Both federal. Which means you aren’t going to be able to determine with certitude. I hate pious preachy incredibly fucking sanctimonious posts that fill these threads but best taking a month off man.


Thanks for the heads up. Was it urine or hair? And what was the timeline like—day 1? Or prior to starting?


WTF!!! I've never heard of drug testing for a clerkship. How common is this? shoot man, SHOOT!


Two clerkships here and never tested. I don't think I've ever heard of this either, so I can't imagine it's common.



Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.