CASE LAW UPDATE: Whether it was proper to deny victim’s request to reopen expungement records?
Victim’s brother was murdered. Defendant was charged, but acquitted of the murder. Defendant subsequently obtained an expungement of the criminal records. When a charge is dismissed, and there is no conviction, a defendant is presumptively entitled to an expungement. Otherwise, in a murder case, a person would probably never be able to obtain an expungement. Most serious felonies are not eligible for statutory expungement. When an expungement is granted, historically, the records were returned to the petitioner, or, destroyed. Today, the records, generally speaking, are only sealed. And, if they are sealed, there are only two circumstances where they can be re-opened: (1) is when the person is seeking to become a police officer; and (2) if the person has a new criminal case. Then, the statute allows the records to be re-opened. When the expungement was sought, the victim notification statute was violated. Later, victim requested that the expunged records be re-opened on the grounds that the victim notification statute was violated. The trial court denied her request to re-open the expunged records. Victim appealed. The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that victim failed to offer legal support for her underlying assumption that a violation of the victim notification statute would provide grounds for her to access the expunged record. Affirmed.
In re Request for Records by Mohamed, A19-1694, Hennepin County.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.