Last week, Eastern District Judge Raymond Dearie lamented the fact that he could not erase the criminal record of a woman who successfully "turned her life around." Arecent Article in the New York Law Journal details Judge Dearie's comments. Judge Dearie went on to say that basic ideas of fairness provide that someone who makes a mistake deserves a second chance.
Unlike in Rhode Island, there are no Federal statues which provide for the expungement of an arrest record. Most Federal Courts have declined to follow a 1977 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which held that expungement was a power given to a judge's "equitable discretion" though the relief should be granted in "extreme circumstances."
While the Rhode Island expungement statutes are much more liberal and broad than the equitable powers of the Federal Judges, there are still highly frequent instances in which the Rhode Island expungement laws are extremely harsh and unfair. Moreover, the Rhode Island Expungement statute provides our Judge's without any discretion to grant an expungement if it does not fit the precise terms of the expungement statute.
Much can, and should, be done to alter the harsh and unfair nature of the Rhode Island Expungement statutory scheme. First and foremost, Rhode Island Judge's should be granted the discretion to grant expungements even if they do not meet the technical requirements of the Expungement statute.
If you are one of the 65 million Americans living with a criminal conviction and dealing with the collateral consequences of that record, contact Attorney Matthew Marin today for a no obligation expungement consultation to see if we can help clear your record. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Text of the New York Law Journal Article can be found here: