Q&A: Expungement

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From the Princeton Daily Clarion:

Q: We received a tip that a newly elected official in the county was arrested on felony charges in Illinois in the past.

When we checked with the Illinois court, we were told the records have been sealed. How do I verify this?  

A: It sounds like you have a situation where someone who was arrested years ago has taken advantage of a state law that allows records to be sealed or expunged.

Indiana recently expanded its expungement law. The idea is to give individuals a second chance at employment without having to reveal that they were either arrested or convicted, depending on the state’s law, of a felony.

The best bet to track down whether there was an arrest is to check with the newspaper in the Illinois county where the reported crime took place to see if the person’s name pops up in the paper’s archives.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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