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SarahXJones

Sealed Record - Inquiry Response, Homestudy

6 posts in this topic

I'm disappointed in the responses, shown below, as they are condescending and not helpful. I should hope this community were of a bit higher caliber.

For clarification, though we have sought counsel, additional opinions are desired.

If a record has been sealed, and the law of the presiding state indicates that the individual should respond in the negative to inquiries, given the knowledge that Child Services will have visibility of a criminal incident (conviction or none), is it then still advised that for formal response (on forms), the individual retain a negative response?

... ....... "If the petition to seal is granted by the Judge you would not be obligated to disclose any information contained in the sealed records to any employer, educational institution, state or local government agency, officials, and employees in any application or interview.

Further, if an interviewer or application inquires about any criminal records that may have been sealed you may legally claim that no such action ever occurred and that no such record exists.

Moreover, upon any inquiry, all criminal justice agencies are required to state that no such records exist. With certain limited exceptions, once the record is sealed, the documents legally could be examined only if you or the prosecuting attorney petitions the Judge and the Judge grants the examination. However, please be advised that the arresting agency is permitted to share information contained in a sealed record when an inquiry is made by another criminal justice agency."

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"... unsure of how to answer specific questions legally."

Huh?

Even if judgment was deferred, and X completed it may be that the arrest cannot be expunged. I will presume that's the case. A sealed record will not keep an adoption agency from delving into such matters to decide whether you all are fit to adopt. Unless the matter has been expunged, you must answer the question posed truthfully.

completed successfully. We succeeded at having this incident formally sealed by the Court last year, to provide for ease of obtaining urgent passport/work visa to meet the company's needs, etc.. Then the possibility of adoption came and we began the process.

"We were told at the time by the judge, that in the future, we should respond that no arrest and/or subsequent charges or conviction ever happened ..."

Were I the defendant, I'd want to check the record to ensure it was expunged not just sealed; the *arrest* record in court/judicial database is a separate matter in every jurisdiction I'm aware of (and the police report/record a separate matter still). I'd be checking into that. I wouldn't care what some judge said regardless, unless thoroughly checking records. (I'll let you in on a secret: sometimes judges are wrong/don't know what the heck they're talking about, or even intentionally misleading. Judges are people, after all, and no more likely to be good at their job than any other profession.)

If there was no conviction but a deferred sentence, naturally you would respond "no" to a question about convictions. (This doesn't mean, however, that the adoption agency/governmental authority will not have access to this information.)

"... the caseworker has run the CoCourts and TRAILS and discovered the incident (in spite of it being sealed)."

Then there you have it (too bad order of appearance of this info wasn't higher up, since I respond as I read). :)

Even if something is expunged as to a given state and place, in this day and age with private and public/governmental databases vacuuming up data on a routine basis, that doesn't ensure/guarantee info will not be available (and, again, under certain circumstances, e.g., you looking for a visa/passport/government job, etc., that info will remain available).

"... the information he does know is that it was a 3rd degree msd, DV situation... "

That's presumably the (very public) arrest record info.

"... and he's asked if we know anything about it."

And ... you tell the truth (I can't fathom how you believe lying about it would not pose a problem). :)

"Its ripple effect has been damaging enough professionally..."

It sounds like you all aren't taking a common-sense "public relations" approach to explaining this stuff, but inexplicably keep thinking back to what some judge said.

I trust you've also got family law counsel who specializes in adoptions; if not, you may want to reconsider.

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I didn't see a question in your post, and you didn't say what the "very specific questions" are that you're concerned with.

All I can tell you is that the process of "sealing" a conviction doesn't mean it becomes unavailable to all -- especially where governmental entities are involved.

I would hope it goes without saying that you should be consulting with a local attorney who handles adoption matters.

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PG, lawl (LOL). I'd normally mention that, but this time ...

Yes, it's best to ask questions and not have folks guess what it is you want to know. Still, I'd hope we covered the bases.

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We thank you for your question, and we hope that you are able to find the answers that you need. We also understand the frustration that can come from dealing with a difficult legal situation, especially when you are not hearing answers that you think are helpful.

Thanks for using FindLaw Answers. --The FindLaw Community Team

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Follow up posts would be better than editing your original post (esp. since it looks like you may have removed some information from the original post). Unless you want to identify the relevant state and provide relevant facts, there's not much anyone can tell you.

If a record has been sealed, and the law of the presiding state indicates that the individual should respond in the negative to inquiries, given the knowledge that Child Services will have visibility of a criminal incident (conviction or none), is it then still advised that for formal response (on forms), the individual retain a negative response?

I don't know what you mean by "retain a negative response," but this isn't the sort of question that can be answered intelligently in the abstract.

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