Americans are finding that arrest records can haunt them for their whole lives, even for arrests where no charges were filed. The problem is discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Retired Judge Eugene Hyman discusses the problem in this report.
Statistics suggest that one out of three Americans has an arrest record of some kind. The problems can be very serious, especially if a prospective employer turns you down for a job because of a spurious arrest record and does not tell you why you were passed over. Judge Hyman says that is especially the case for job applicants who don’t even get an interview.
Another problem, says Judge Hyman, is that people will sometimes run record checks through one of several websites that offer the service. This can especially be a problem if a state law does not permit a record check for the kind of job someone is applying for, where there is no sensitivity to the job. About 25% of the records are inaccurate, so that merely aggravates the problem.
Judge Hyman points out that errors occur because human beings are in charge of preparing and handling the records. Also, he says, people who complete their probation often assume that their records are sealed and will not be discovered. But in a number of states, affirmative action is required to get a conviction expunged from a person’s record.
Mug shot websites are another problem. These sites can hurt people with inaccurate information. Judge Hyman opines that such a site might be liable to a class action lawsuit.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.