Federal Clerkship Background Check

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Federal Clerkship Background Check

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:06 am

I've accepted a position with a judge. I do not have the worst background in the world but also not a clean background either. I have a charge that dates back seven and a half years ago, where a group of friends and I got in trouble for shoplifting. Because the total we shoplifted was more than $50, the attorney could not expunge it. However, it is "sealed" and is only viewable by the state and federal government. So, yes, it does come up under an FBI fingerprint check that provides very basic information (charge, date, disposition).

The AO 78 that I would be required to fill out asks explicitly: "During the last 7 years, have you been convicted, imprisoned, on probation, or on parole?" Although the charge dates back further than seven years, I did a quasi-type of probation where I was required to complete community service and had it "sealed" within the 7-year window; about six and a half years ago.

So should I (1) disclose this within the AO 78 and explain how it happened seven years ago, and not tell the judge (2) call the judge before filling out the AO 78 and own up to the mistake and disclose it, or (3) do not disclose it since the background check will be done until after the start date and then disclose to the judge after I've had my fingerprints taken.

Any additional input on the background check process would be helpful.

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Re: Federal Clerkship Background Check

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:05 pm

Disclose. Not even a difficult question. If the AO-78 specifically asks for it, it is a terrible idea to not answer it truthfully (could have bar C&F implications if it became a big issue). A judge for whom I worked had someone fail to disclose something on the background check. The failure to disclose became a bigger flag on the person than the actual underlying offense. Also, the judges don't automatically get a copy of your background check. So I don't think it's important to disclose to the judge first. Odds are she won't even see it if it was a minor shoplifting thing years ago. And if she does, then you can just explain it then like you would have explained it in advance.

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HillandHollow

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Re: Federal Clerkship Background Check

Post by HillandHollow » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:03 am

Disclose exactly what the form asks for, which may mean saying you were on probation 7 years ago for a shoplifting offense, and that you successfully completed probation on (date). Agreed with above that looking like you lied or tried to avoid admitting this will look way worse than the thing itself.

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