Obtaining expunged records

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yepyep
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Obtaining expunged records

Postby yepyep » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:38 am

Im applying to schools and have a few misdemeanors and citations that have been expunged. I've called the local police a few times to find out how to get these records and they are not cooperating (they don't like me). Im trying to figure out what to do when some of these schools ask for specific dates and documents and im not able to provide them. Should I just be as specific as possible and explain why the documentation is missing? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I had quite a few incidents and they're dating back 8-9 years. I don't even remember them all and I think I'm getting some confused with each other or maybe even forgetting one. I want to disclose EVERYTHING but I'm afraid I may leave something out because these pricks (police records) are purposely being uncooperative.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby CGI Fridays » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:40 am

:shock:

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well-hello-there
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby well-hello-there » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:45 am

I have never seen a law school application that demanded the documentation up front. Only that you should be ready to provide documentation if they ask for it.

Also, when you apply to take the bar exam in 4 years, they will scrutinize your record AND your law school application. If they think you attempted to conceal something, it will become a big pain in the ass. They will do their best to make you feel scared for your future career. In your situation, I wouldn't put exact dates in the explanatory statement. Maybe just use the season that it happened in or even just the year if your memory is hazy. Try your best to remember everything and I would err on the side of admitting to a conviction that never happened rather than omitting something because you're not sure if it happened. If it really did happen AND they actually look into your sealed/expunged record to find something you didn't report, it might turn out bad.

I wouldn't worry about the documentation until a law school demands it. Then get an attorney if you have to.

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yepyep
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby yepyep » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:06 am

well-hello-there wrote:I have never seen a law school application that demanded the documentation up front. Only that you should be ready to provide documentation if they ask for it.

Also, when you apply to take the bar exam in 4 years, they will scrutinize your record AND your law school application. If they think you attempted to conceal something, it will become a big pain in the ass. They will do their best to make you feel scared for your future career. In your situation, I wouldn't put exact dates in the explanatory statement. Maybe just use the season that it happened in or even just the year if your memory is hazy. Try your best to remember everything and I would err on the side of admitting to a conviction that never happened rather than omitting something because you're not sure if it happened. If it really did happen AND they actually look into your sealed/expunged record to find something you didn't report, it might turn out bad.

I wouldn't worry about the documentation until a law school demands it. Then get an attorney if you have to.


I know Uconn asks for it.

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well-hello-there
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby well-hello-there » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:53 pm

No they don't.

The application reads "Each applicant is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to secure information regarding character and fitness requirements from the jurisdiction in which they intend to practice"

I would just get an attorney right now if I were you. Have the lawyer get your records. It can't be that much money to just pull some records.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:31 pm

If you really want to know everything you were ever arrested for, do an FBI fingerprint card request.

Bumi
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby Bumi » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:21 pm

yepyep wrote:(they don't like me)

This part made me laugh.

Hey OP, I've mentioned this in a few threads, so maybe you've seen it, but I had good success looking up court records online for my stuff. I just had some traffic issues, but in my state court records are kept online for 10 years. You might be able to try that avenue rather than going through the police department. Hope that helps.

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby Anonymous Loser » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:47 pm

Your profile says you are a Rhode Island resident: have you looked at the state's online criminal record database? I made a few cursory searches, and while I don't know how the system treats expunged records, I did find misdemeanors from well over twenty years ago.

If this doesn't yield anything, make a public records request of the arresting police department and the charging district attorney's office, as well as the court which heard the case(s). I find that copying the city attorney on a records request generally yields the quickest turn-around time.

The Rhode Island Attorney General wrote:SAMPLE REQUEST LETTER

Dear (Records Custodian):

Pursuant to the Access to Public Records Act, R.I. Gen. laws § 38-2-1 et. seq., I am
requesting access to records, which I believe are public documents. Specifically, I am
requesting records relating to (be as specific as possible about your request).

In accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-7, (name of public body) has ten (10) business
days to provide the requested documents or to notify me in writing of the specific reasons
for denying me access to the requested records. If the exemption you are claiming
applies only to a portion of the records that I seek, please delete that portion and provide
photocopies of the remainder of the records. [See R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(ii).] I
understand that for “good cause” the ten (10) business day time period may be extended
for an additional twenty (20) business days, provided that I am notified of the “good
cause” in writing within the original ten (10) business days of my request.

I also agree to pay a maximum of 15¢ per page for the cost photocopying and a
maximum of $15.00 per hour for search and retrieval, with the first hour being free. It is
also my understanding that (name of public body), must provide me an estimate of the
costs, prior to providing copies. Please notify me at the following phone number or
address when the requested records are available for pickup.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

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well-hello-there
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby well-hello-there » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:08 am

I spoke with a friend of mine who recently sat for the bar exam and he said that the state bar association will do an FBI Background check. According to him, as long as your disclosures match what is on your FBI rap sheet, you shouldn't have a problem.

Here's a link to the FBI's website where it explains how to obtain this report.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/backgr ... und_checks

Stickupyoura$$much
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby Stickupyoura$$much » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:35 pm

My story is a little more compelling. I committed grand theft auto when I was 15, got completely off, records destroyed, do I STILL need to mention this in my apps?

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dextermorgan
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby dextermorgan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:38 pm

Have you tried going to the county court(s) where it happened. They tend to me a little more helpful with these things than the police.

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nygrrrl
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby nygrrrl » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:48 pm

yepyep wrote:Im applying to schools and have a few misdemeanors and citations that have been expunged. I've called the local police a few times to find out how to get these records and they are not cooperating (they don't like me). Im trying to figure out what to do when some of these schools ask for specific dates and documents and im not able to provide them. Should I just be as specific as possible and explain why the documentation is missing? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I had quite a few incidents and they're dating back 8-9 years. I don't even remember them all and I think I'm getting some confused with each other or maybe even forgetting one. I want to disclose EVERYTHING but I'm afraid I may leave something out because these pricks (police records) are purposely being uncooperative.


Be brutally honest. Tell the schools pretty much what you said, here. Well-hello-there has great advice. The schools want to know this because they want to know if you're going to have trouble passing the bar (among other things); the more upfront and transparent you are at this point, the better it will be. Trust me on this one. Do your best to remember. "Fall of 20__.." etc. When/IF the schools ask for them, you'll be talking to someone on the phone and will be able to explain the difficulties you're having, getting the actual records.

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well-hello-there
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby well-hello-there » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:04 am

Stickupyoura$$much wrote:My story is a little more compelling. I committed grand theft auto when I was 15, got completely off, records destroyed, do I STILL need to mention this in my apps?
dextermorgan wrote:Have you tried going to the county court(s) where it happened.
+1
If the records were destroyed and you never had to go to court because of it, then there would be no conviction on your record anywhere. Some schools only ask you to disclose convictions and if it is one of those schools, and you never went to court, then you don't need to mention it. For the schools that ask you to disclose whether or not you were ever charged with a crime or arrested for a crime, the safest bet is to mention it on your applications in a "matter of fact" manner.

When you apply for the bar, if it turns out that there is nothing on your FBI rap sheet, then you might get away with omitting it from your law school applications. I say might because I don't know if bar associations check into more than just your record at the FBI. My friend who sat for the bar in Nevada said that they only did an FBI background check. Who knows what other states do? Not me.

If you absolutely don't want to mention it on your applications then you should at a minimum go to the county court records department where it happened and verify that they have no record of it.

Even with that verification however, you still don't know if the FBI has any info on you (maybe they have nothing) and to do the FBI background check could take a few months (their website says "up to 12 weeks").

In summary, you can:
1. Disclose it now and hope the school doesn't ding you for it.
2. Keep it a secret and hope that in 3 1/2 years, the bar association doesn't find out about it.
3. Keep it a secret now but send in an addendum if your FBI background check comes back dirty.

All three of those options suck but I think the first option sucks the least.
Option 2 will make you gray from worrying for 3+ years.
Option 3 is a gamble because if you find out in April that you don't have a clean record and THEN send an addendum to a school, you are giving them the opportunity to rescind their acceptance and you might get assed out of law school for this cycle. If it comes back clean, then you win.
Option 1 is what I would do because the question is always worded, "Have you ever been charged with/arrested for/convicted of a crime?" and NOT "Is there record of you ever having been charged with/arrested for/convicted of a crime?"

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blazinswordofjustice
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby blazinswordofjustice » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:50 pm

I used to work for a background screening company and people would call in all the time wondering why their records til showed up even though it had been expunged/sealed/etc...

the fact of the matter is that even though it might have been expunged, the court system could take a long time to update and even when it does it still might show up as expunged...

soo...i would suggest calling and acting like you aren't you but just looking for case information. most counties/states have websites where you can look up your criminal record or you could order a background check as well...very likely the information is out there and if the school/bar really looks they'll find it...best to be honest now!

feel free to PM for more ideas/suggestions...

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blazinswordofjustice
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby blazinswordofjustice » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:51 pm

PS. Just a fyi, FBI rap sheet is good, but can take forever (up to 3 months, though i think its shorter now) and the FBI only reports whats been reported to them...so if a particular county is slow or sucks at updating their records, it might not show up on the FBI report...

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Marionberry
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby Marionberry » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:45 pm

If expunction works anything like it does in Texas, then you shouldn't be able to get copies of your court documents. They are supposed to be destroyed, as that is the purpose of expunction. Anybody to whom you would have to disclose these arrests should be knowledgeable enough to understand that.

However, as someone else mentioned, this does not mean that it's like it never happened. Even an effective expunction does not erase your record with the FBI, who at the most will note "-expunged" next to your entry in their system and not disclose it on routine background checks. Perhaps more problematically, though, is the many private criminal record databanks that buy information from courts and other public sources. These companies are supposed to be contacted and asked to destroy records as part of an expunction, but they often don't comply, either willfully or through incompetence. And there's dozens of them, so the likelihood that one company didn't fully process your expunction is pretty good.

Either way, as to the OPs original question, you shouldn't be able to obtain expunged court records, and you shouldn't have to. However, you or your attorney should have kept copies of those things, so you could check into that possibility.

too old for this sh*
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Re: Obtaining expunged records

Postby too old for this sh* » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:34 pm

For starters, the manner of retrieving records of any sort should be by written request. Phone requests generally result in no meaningful response from an agency. Also, records related to the individual are often available to them where the general public would not get as much detail...knowledge of your jurisdiction's open records provisions goes far in such instances.

In this case, with the case having been expunged, the written request that fully identifies you and the nature of the incident should yield (in the case of a properly processed expunction) a response on agency letterhead that a careful search of the agency records failed to yield any identifiable record associated with the information you have supplied.

Rinse lather and repeat for the County or District Clerk.

And yes, there will be times where the expunction did not completely cleanse the full rap and an ORI is available that suggests SOMETHING took place. I worked a case where we were seeking a pardon through the TxBPP on a client who got stupid one night as an undergrad but where the case was expunged. I had a Cause Number and an arresting agency. The Clerk could only corroborate that SOMETHING took place under that Cause Number but that the information had been redacted as to who or what was involved. That worked for what we needed to present in the application...

I should also add that some agencies have an interesting manner of expunction...we recently got records on a client who had a DWI expunged. Although the incident had not been incorporated into our request to that agency, it was included with documents we received. Every place the name appeared in the original report, it had been replaced with EXPUNGED and then there was a reference at the bottom of the report in their internal records that the expunction was pursuant to the order of the court in whatever county in whatever Cause Number.




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