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New Pennsylvania law hides some criminal records from prying eyes

Disir

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The state's limited access law allows people convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes to ask a court to have their records sealed. While law enforcement will still have access to the records, they'll disappear from public online databases — like the ones most employers use while conducting background checks on potential hires.

Lawyers say the change will remove a roadblock for clients who have been haunted by a minor conviction that they've had to explain over and over again while searching for a job or housing.

"We have clients who have completely turned their lives around, but they are being turned down from jobs and graduate programs over minor offenses," Allentown criminal defense attorney Thomas Joachim said.

The law applies to most second- and third-degree misdemeanors — such as drunken driving and most retail thefts — that are punishable by no more than two years in prison. Applicants must have completed their sentence at least 10 years ago, without getting into any further trouble with the law.

The district attorney of the county where the crime occurred can challenge the petition, but the ultimate decision rests with a judge. There's a $132 filing fee and no court hearing is required.

Interest in the new law has varied widely, with more than 1,000 people attending a set of free legal clinics on the law last weekend in Philadelphia. But Lehigh and Northampton counties have no applicants yet.
New Pennsylvania law hides some criminal records from prying eyes

That is just.
 

WillHaftawaite

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Sounds like a good plan.

If it works well, hope it goes nationwide
 

anotherlife

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America used to be the land of opportunity. How did it get so bad, that now they have to write a law to put it back?
 

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