Tuesday, August 16, 2016

FEDERAL EXPUNGEMENT LIMITED SAYS SECOND CIRCUIT



In Doe v. United States (Second Circuit, August 11, 2016, Docket Number: 15-1967), at issue was whether the district court acted within its authority when it expunged the conviction of a woman sentenced some 14 years earlier, based on the court's finding that her conviction had proved an insurmountable bar to the jobs in home health care for which she was qualified.  The judge directed that the government seal the records of Ms.Doe’s conviction, stating that he had sentenced her “to five years of probation supervision, not to a lifetime of unemployment.”

The Second Circuit reversed stating that expungement is available in limited cases where Congress has specifically authorized it. Recognizing the harshness of its decision, the court added that its opinion “says nothing about Congress’ ability to provide for jurisdiction in similar cases in the future” and also quoted a speech by Attorney General Loretta Lynch in which she stated that society’s treatment of former offenders “turns too many terms of incarceration into what is effectively a life sentence.”

The full decision can be viewed here:  http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca2/15-1967/15-1967-2016-08-11.html

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