Monday, September 16, 2013

We need expungement

am asking for your help in raising public awareness of Alabama Expungement. I and many others need these bills to pass so we will have a fair standing. Unlike our neighboring states, Alabama has no provision for expunging the proceedings against a person once he is exonerated of a criminal charge. This might not have mattered 10 years ago, but the digital age puts information on the desktops of anyone who wants it. When competing for jobs, the notation of a criminal proceeding -- even if you're not guilty -- is an unjust encumbrance.

"In 2006, such a notation closed several doors for me in the financial services area. In 2007, it took me out of the running for a federal job. And, last month, I was deferred by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the most recent case, I received a letter saying there was a "potential" criminal match, and though I was given the opportunity to submit court documentation, this takes time, and a deferral may translate to a denial depending on the hiring timetable. The Senate passed its bill on April 6, but the House has not acted on its bill since it emerged from committee in January. This legislation passed both chambers in the 2009 session, only to be pocket vetoed by Gov. Bob Riley. It looks as though we are headed for a repeat of the 2008 legislative session, when legislation passed one chamber only to be buried under a budget filibuster in the other. This is the sixth year the bill has been introduced by state Rep. Chris England, himself a former county prosecutor. With only four legislative days left in the current session, I'm looking to you for help."

John M. Woodruff

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