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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Law - "As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime"

The subhead to the long, excellent (but paywalled) WSJ article today, reported by Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller, is "Even if Charges Were Dropped, a Lingering Arrest Record Can Ruin Chances of a Job."

These are arrest records, not conviction records. The story reports the U.S. Census Bureau, for one, uses them for screening job applicants. More:

Exacerbating the situation are for-profit websites and other background-check businesses that assemble publicly available arrest records, often including mug shots and charges. Many sites charge fees to remove a record, even an outdated or erroneous one. In the past year Google Inc. has changed its search algorithm to de-emphasize many so called "mug-shot" websites, giving them less prominence when someone's name is searched.

On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill making it illegal for websites to charge state residents to have their mug shot arrest photos removed.

In 2013, Indiana legislators approved one of the most extensive criminal record expungement laws in the country. The law was sponsored by a former prosecutor and had a range of conservative Republican backers. One had worked as a mining-company supervisor who frequently had to reject individuals after routine background checks found evidence of an old arrest.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 19, 2014 09:54 AM
Posted to General Law Related