Judy Clarke: Congratulations on a Job Well Done Representing Jared Loughner

I write today to honor Judy Clarke, whom I know personally and professionally. In my opinion, she is the best and most effective death penalty lawyer in this country. In no small measure, Jared Loughner, Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith owe their lives to her.

You know about Jared Loughner. With malice in mind and armed with a gun, he showed up at a meet-and-greet event conducted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a parking lot outside a supermarket in Tucson. He attempted to kill her by shooting her at point blank range in the head. She survived but six others, including a child, did not. Eleven others were wounded. Jared Loughner will not be executed for his horrific crimes. Instead, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Ted Kaczynski is better known as the Unabomber. He engaged in a nation-wide bombing campaign against modern technology between 1978 and 1995 by planting or mailing numerous home-made bombs, killing three people and injuring 23 others. He will not be executed for his crimes. Instead, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Susan Smith killed her two young boys by trapping them in her vehicle and driving it into a lake drowning them. She told the police that an African-American man stole her car with the two boys in it and she made a plea on national television for the return of her children. She later confessed to killing them and was convicted of their murders by a jury on July 22, 1995. Instead of sentencing her to death, a South Carolina jury spared her life and she will be eligible for parole on November 4, 2024.

Judy Clarke is almost invisible. She never seeks publicity and never attempts to try her cases in the court of public opinion. She treats her clients with the utmost respect and works quietly and diligently behind the scenes to gain their trust. She humanizes them to others. Perhaps better than any lawyer I know, she understands the First Commandment of Criminal Defense:

Thou canst not create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, no matter how good you are. Some cases are dead-bang losers and you must be able to identify and dispose of them, if at all possible, without going to trial. That usually involves a plea bargain and a guilty plea.

She never shies away from a trial, however, and is very effective in trial, as the Susan Smith case proves. But she does not try loser cases, unless there is no alternative. The results speak for themselves.

Judy always gives credit to those who work with and assist her, realizing that she could not do what she does without their help.

I know how good you are, Judy.

Congratulations on your successful efforts to save Jared’s life.

48 Responses to Judy Clarke: Congratulations on a Job Well Done Representing Jared Loughner

  1. Malisha says:

    Grand Kudos to Ms. Clarke. She obviously is a brilliant lawyer and a principled, dedicated person! Also, it appears that it is not dangerous to stand somewhere between her and a news camera!

    • Her favorite comment is “No Comment.”

      She is currently serving as Capital Resource Counsel based at the Federal Public Defender in San Diego. She assists attorneys throughout the United States who are representing clients in federal death penalty cases.

      She is the former Director of the Federal Public Defender in San Diego and the Federal Public Defender in Eastern Washington and Idaho,

  2. Two sides to a story says:

    Very admirable. Too bad O’Mara doesn’t take a cue from her.

    Did she work for Loughner as a public defender? If so, he was lucky to get such a principled one.

    • Yes, she was appointed to represent him.

      Federal Public Defenders are generally excellent lawyers.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Thanks for your answer!

        Why do people seem to have so many problems with regular public defenders, especially in small towns? Is it the caseload? Or is it just an erroneous perception that PDs don’t work hard enough or lose cases – ?

        • State public defenders are overworked and underpaid. They struggle with their caseloads under the best of circumstances.

          The best public defender organizations in the states are located in large urban areas, generally speaking. Public defenders in rural areas tend to be civil firms that contract with a county to represent the indigent defendants in criminal cases. After they get the contract, they hire inexperienced lawyers to handle the cases and provide them with little supervision. Needless to say, that does not work out very well.

          Federal public defenders are paid more and have more manageable caseloads. Most of the best criminal lawyers in the country are public defenders or former public defenders.

          DISCLOSURE: I was a public defender for three years in Seattle (Seattle-King County Public Defender, which is now called The Defender Association) before I went into private practice. It was an outstanding organization and I learned how to practice law there from the senior attorneys. The Federal Defender Office in Seattle also is outstanding.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Thanks, Mr. L. Now I understand why I heard so many sad tales about PDs in a small town I once lived near. Apparently there were a handful of good ones who mostly worked juvenile cases, but the outcomes for adults seemed to always work in favor for the state. Word always went around that it was better to hire out-of town lawyers from the nearest big city if possible.

  3. cielo62 says:

    Now THIS is an interesting story! In these cases, did the prosecution approach the defense in offering an alternative to the DP? Or did she (the defense) make an offer that included removing the DP in exchange for a hassle-free resolution? I wouldn’t know where to find out how this sentecne was arranged. Could someone enlighten me?

    • You are not likely to ever know how the agreement was reached because the lawyers will not speak about it. Based on my experience, I believe both sides waited to see what the shrinks had to say about Loughner. Since he had to be medicated to make him competent, both sides had an incentive to settle the case. Loughner’s mental state constituted powerful mitigation evidence that the government would have had a difficult time overcoming to persuade a jury to sentence him to death. The defense was not likely to do better than a sentence to life in prison. Therefore, both sides had an incentive to work out a deal and present it in a way that would be palatable to surviving victims and the families of the dead victims.

      I am not surprised by the result, knowing Judy, and I am pretty sure she initiated the discussions that led to a satisfactory resolution. Note that this resolution probably would not have been possible, if there had been a lot of political posturing by the defense.

      By way of contrast, compare Loughner’s case to Sergeant Robert Bales’s case (the Afghanistan shootings case) and the way his lawyer could not stop talking to the press.

  4. Two sides to a story says:

    It was cool to review the excellent September post on the commandments of criminal defense.

    Gave me a new appreciation of the dynamics of the GZ case and your work in educating readers about criminal law.

  5. Two sides to a story says:

    Oh, sorry for busting in here again – I have two questions for Mr. Leatherman about the Loughner case.

    Wikipedia states: “Loughner, by pleading guilty in the deal, automatically then waived his right to any further appeals and cannot later alter his plea to an insanity plea. Loughner must pay a restitution of $19 million, $1 million for each of the victims.”

    I’m trying to make sense of how this case was handled. Could the case have gone to a “guilty but insane” plea or conviction, since Loughner was clearly not in his right mind at the time of his shooting? I would agree that he should be incarcerated for the rest of his life, but don’t quite understand that he’s being treated as if he were competent before the time he was declared competent to stand trial.

    Also, how does the state or fed gov’t collect such a massive restitution from a man who will be incarcerated for life? The wiki goes on to state that he must forfeit any funds made if a story is published, but what if he doesn’t agree to any publication?

    • He was declared competent before he pled guilty. Competent in the legal context means that you know what you are charged with and the possible consequences you face, if convicted. You also must be able to communicate with, discuss, and assist your lawyers to represent you. Insanity is a different test. The judge held a competency hearing and heard expert testimony about Loughner’s mental state before pronouncing him competent.

      He pled guilty to avoid the death penalty, which he might have received if he went to trial.

      The restitution order will never be collected because he has no money to pay it.

      If he writes a story that is never published, there will be no proceeds to be collected to pay that restitution order.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Do we assume then that consideration WAS given to the fact that Loughner was a sandwich shy of a picnic when he planned and executed his crimes?

        Will Loughner be incarcerated in a regular federal prison and just kept on meds or will he be houses and treated in a federal psychiatric facility?

        If Loughner had not wounded a representative and killed a federal judge, he would have been sentenced to the AZ State Hospital, which has a rather dreary building housing the “criminally insane” (I’m not certain if there’s a more modern or politically correct term).

  6. Two sides to a story says:

    Sorry, my mind is really swirling with questions. I’m fascinated by how society handles psychiatric issues in relation to crime.

    In what sort of crimes is it reasonable to find someone not guilty by reason of insanity? Is that an old-fashioned plea / paradigm not currently acceptable since psychiatric medications and treatments are more effective?

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I realized I’m probably asking questions I can answer myself through online research . . . here’s a link in case anyone else is interested . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insanity_defense

      Thanks for your patience!

      • Malisha says:

        You have asked very big questions and for many of them, unfortunately, there are only very small answers, a few of which I know a thimble-full about.

        Ordinarily a defendant wishing to plead “insanity” will have a tough row to hoe because the court does not want to agree to it. There are plenty of cases where people on death row tried to even get clemency so their death sentences could be reduced to life without parole, but where their particular diagnosis, while confirmed as grossly abnormal, would not fit the legal description of “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

        To complicate things further, it is, in our society, quite honorable to be completely insane and to carry out acts that are by definition psychotic (such as killing somebody who has done you no harm whatsoever and whom you do not know) if you are doing them with the permission of, or under the direction of, a lawful authority such as the government or the military, which is a branch of the government. Sergeant Robert Bales was mentioned upthread. He was clearly psychotic when he went on his rampage but he was probably just as psychotic when he previously killed as part of his job. Look at a comment that appeared on a news report about Bales recently:

        “People wonder what caused this. I served in a rifle company in Vietnam. The Vietnamese, especially the civilian population, ordinary peasants and villagers who eked out a living off the land and lived in thatched homes without plumbing nor more than one electrical generator for a village supplying temporary power in the evenings only, were treated with contempt and derision, erupting sometimes into hatred by American G.I.s The young American soldiers had a more healthy respect for the armed enemy, the Viet Cong partisans, and especially more respect for the NVA (their regular army). But for the civilian populous there was nothing but arrogant contempt. Since the young G.I.s hated being there and felt really wronged and victimized by the fact that they were put there doing very onerous jobs (bad enough in itself) but put in harms way to boot, someone should be to blame for it. The most impoverished, suffering, defenseless, foreign looking, and vulnerable (e.g. women, children, and old men) took the honors (blame in the minds of the G.I. simpletons) of being the ones responsible for the whole war and hence for the miserable predicament of each individual American soldier. This is what I saw, and heard, and lived with for the year I spent in Vietnam.”

        Would not a year under such conditions bring on a mental illness in almost any person? Would not the “normalcy” of extreme hatred toward innocent people undermine sanity in anybody? You can extrapolate, you can figure out how people like Jared Loughner or indeed George Zimmerman probably arise among us. The practice of forensic psychiatry and forensic psychology can inform us of many of these things on a case-by-case basis but as a general matter, we are probably looking at this:

        In a system that rewards “successful behavior” that includes milder forms of depriving others of their rights and taking from others what they need in order to enhance our own positions and satisfy our own needs and desires, there will always be a continuum along which we inevitably will find the individuals who steal, rape, abuse and kill. Pre-determining which of us will do these things is not possible. Some caution can lead to some measure of decreased risk, but not predictably or often enough.

    • In most jurisdictions the defendant has to prove insanity and if he is successful, he still goes to prison and may never get out. Basically, the insanity defense has been eliminated. County jails and prisons serve as our mental health hospitals and solitary confinement with an occasional pepper-spray thrashing for anyone who complains is “treatment.”

      The LA County Jail houses more mentally ill people than any other institution in the country.

      Our treatment of the mentally ill is barbaric.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        That jails serve as a catch-all for the mentally impaired is truly bizarre. Our society should be better than that.

  7. Jun says:

    I have never understood the insanity defense because if they are insane, it is more the reason to keep them away from society so they dont hurt others

    • Two sides to a story says:

      In some states it means the difference between going to a regular prison and being sent to a mental health facility – not a huge difference, as both are lock-ups, but a stint at a mhf would be slightly less drab and dreary.

  8. Malisha says:

    Apparently, mental institutions for the “criminally insane” are in competition with the worse prisons we have, for inhumane conditions. There is also another scam being perfected by our state courts here and there around the country — and becoming more popular as we speak [write]: diversion programs to state mental hospitals for 6 months at a pop for offenses involving drugs or domestic relations issues. So it goes like this:

    1 – Person without means for a private lawyer gets arrested on a dozen or more really heavy felonies that are bogus and ridiculous;

    2 – Public Defender tells him not to worry too much because he will plead “NCR” (not criminally responsible) and get off with a light sentence;

    3. He is held on high bail in the county jail and roughed up a few times so that he is ready to plead to whatever he needs to plead to in order to get out and go to the “protected environment” of a real prison or real mental hospital, at Medicaid’s expense;

    4. His PD pleads him out to ONE count of a misdemeanor and looks like a HERO by getting him into a “diversion program” set up by the judge and funded by all kinds of state and federal grants;

    5. The “diversion program” is the state mental hospital, which was unable to pay its bills until it got an influx of readily controllable “patients” who would be happy to sit about without any treatment so long as they had “three hots and a cot” and could get out in 6 months.

    6. The hospital now has a steady flow of income and the jail has a steady flow of prisoners and the PD’s office has work-free jobs with non-demanding clients and the prosecutor has a great record for getting plea deals adn the judge’s favorite “diversion program” is working so the judge can go on the lecture circuit talking about this great wonderful thing being done in that county to combat crime.

    Check it out. Model jurisdiction is Harford County, Maryland, under Prosecutor Cassilly (past president of the US Prosecutors’ association I hear) and thanks to the judge who created the diversion program, Judge Mimi Cooper.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Creepy. I didn’t know that diversion programs to mental health facilities were that common and would presume these might be only for people who really need the treatment.

      But no surprise. The US legal system seems to like to create “customers.”

      • cielo62 says:

        IMO, the entire American system has devolved into worshipping one thing: money. What do justice, health, compassion or any other “fuzzy” value to do with cold, hard cash?

        ________________________________

    • I have to weigh in and agree with you here. This country spends millions to incarcerate people for the likes of weed while 99,000 people a year die right in front of our eyeballs, in our own hospitals due to nosocomial infections. So, the ‘war on drugs’ is the biggest money-making scam ever to hit this country, IMO. From my personal observations, the following concepts are also straight-up scams designed for failure: 1. shock probation, 2. Drug Court 3. Actually most forms of diversion/probation 4. Treatment programs encouraged by courts that are religion-based but turn out not to be licensed by any professional board at all, so all the promises made to the inmate about scrubbed records on completion of these programs are fake.

      Turning jails into prisons and warehousing humans is flat-out Eighth Amendment violation all day long.

      I could go on for hours. There are only so many words one can drag from the vocabulary to describe bullshit, and our ‘system’ right now is piled high and deep.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        We really value your responses, Crane! Thank you.

        We all need to roll our sleeves up. There’s endless work to be done to make the world better.

      • Xena says:

        Treatment programs encouraged by courts that are religion-based but turn out not to be licensed by any professional board at all, so all the promises made to the inmate about scrubbed records on completion of these programs are fake.

        (((((Applause))))) to Crane-Station. Yes! It’s very misleading. In Illinois, conditional discharge cannot be expunged, but people are led to believe that they are — and that is exactly what drug treatment and community service are — conditional discharges.

        After I spoke with about a hundred people in the Legal Self-Help Center, I caught on to what PD’s tell them. What they say is, “If you agree to this and successfully complete it, your case will be dismissed.”

        What they don’t tell them is, the case is dismissed under “conditional discharge” because of the successful completion of the program or community service. It simply means that the case is closed — no further prosecution. It cannot be expunged, neither sealed, from their arrest record.

        • I have seen this with my own two eyeballs in the parole office when a woman in tears explained to me that she had worked so very hard to follow this program and complete it, only to find out that the program was totally unlicensed and unapproved and her conviction will remain as though she had done nothing whatsoever. The news was devastating, and I can’t blame the woman for crying openly in the packed office.

          • Xena says:

            The news was devastating, and I can’t blame the woman for crying openly in the packed office.

            Oh yes. I used to purchase the 3-pack of Kleenex for my office. Each time I heard on the news that a company was hiring or there was a job fair, I would increase my stock because I knew those with arrest records were coming.

            What also got to me were HR and school admission staff telling applicants that if they have this or that expunged, that they would be hired or admitted to school. In Illinois, it’s all of nothing. Thus, one particular arrest can disqualify the entire arrest record from being expunged or sealed. Also, expungement law carries a certain time period after completion of supervision or programs. Some require a waiting period of 5 yrs.

            How are people suppose to get their “fresh start” after paying their debt to society with these processes that put a steel wall before them, blocking their path?

          • “How are people suppose to get their “fresh start” after paying their debt to society with these processes that put a steel wall before them, blocking their path?”

            -They can’t.

            God, do we ever need you out there speaking and writing and educating. Fred needs to front page this information. This is information that the passing public that is substantially affected by this ‘system’ does not have.

          • Xena says:

            God, do we ever need you out there speaking and writing and educating. Fred needs to front page this information. This is information that the passing public that is substantially affected by this ‘system’ does not have.

            When I managed the Legal Self-Help Center at the courthouse, there were individuals referred there by the local State Rep’s office. It took me 9 mths before he finally returned my call. His office gave people the impression that I would do the foot work for them, and prepare their expungement petitions for them. That is not lawfully allowed.

            I offered to organize monthly meetings with his constituents to encourage them because it was a project and not anything that can be done in 5 minutes. Along with going over the published information, I would make available all forms. Also, I informed him that I had spoken with the State Appellate Defender’s Office and they were willing to have a supervising attorney there but that attorney could not represent individuals. (The supervising attorney was actually a CYA so I would not be accused of practicing law without a license or without attorney supervision.)

            His response? He wanted me to give his secretary the phone number to the State Appellate Defender’s office so she could refer people to that office. (sigh) That office referred people to the Legal Self-Help Center.

            So, I have something in mind, but will not share it here. (Too many Zidiots lurking for something to complain about.)

            Crane-Station, here is my heart — when people have committed a crime or been accused of a crime, guilty or innocent, and gone through the system, and demonstrate the desire to be law abiding productive citizens, it is devastating for them to be “blacklisted.” Effectively, the system is designed to result in oppression and plant roots into their hearts that they will never, ever, be good enough to be anything.

            That is what is sad because not everyone who has been arrested is a repeat offender. Many made mistakes when they were 18 or 19 doing stupid stuff like shoplifting, and find at the age of 24 after college, that record follows them.

          • cielo62 says:

            Crane-Station: many of the difficulties of getting the “common person” to really care about this starts with the stigma involved in being arrested for ANYTHING, even if you are innocent. The Southern Baptists here in Texas and in the south in general, have brainwashed their flocks with the belief that SOMEHOW you deserve it. And if you deserve it, why should we interfere? The worse the jail experience is, the better they support it. The comments here in the Houston Chronicle are just appalling. Talk about barbaric! If I’ve read it once, I’ve read it 5 thousand times, about “Bubba” finding a new “friend” making childish allusion to prison rape. People just don’t care about the criminal system, because they don’t think they will ever have to deal with it. Education isn’t the answer in a country where compassion is dead.

            ________________________________

          • Xena says:

            Education isn’t the answer in a country where compassion is dead

            While this is true of the hateful, there are those who want their “fresh start” and they are the ones to educate on how to get that process started. It’s for parents whose young adult child at college gets arrested for skateboarding on a public street.

            It’s for young adults who go out for a job not knowing that a shoplifting arrest for a $30 pair of pants is going to follow them unless that arrest is expunged.

            It’s for the employee who has been on their job 20 yrs and is laid off, to discover that an arrest for domestic violence 15 yrs ago stands in their way of future employment.

            It’s for the man or woman whose identity is mistaken and arrested, and having the charges dismissed by the State.

            When those arrests that can be sealed or expunged can no longer be used by society to establish a “class” of individuals who have paid their debt to society, it takes the power from them. For every person arrested and convicted who cannot expunge their record, I estimate that there are 20 others who can get their “fresh start.”

          • cielo62 says:

            Xena~ AH! The education is for the people seeking to expunge their records! I misuderstood. I thought the topic was getting society at learge to change how the “system” treats people unjustly and that 2nd chances should be given. I agree 100% with giving people the ability to move on without that barrier. People DO mature and change with age and life experiences. Thank God my one bad check I wrote when I was 24 (with my 1st ever checking account) has NOT prevented me from finding employment and having a career I love. NO ONE should be denied a future for some stupid mistakes.

            ________________________________

          • Xena says:

            The education is for the people seeking to expunge their records! I misuderstood. I thought the topic was getting society at learge to change how the “system” treats people unjustly and that 2nd chances should be given.

            No problem. Seems to me that the best way to take power away from prejudicial people (the entire gamut of prejudices), is for people to know their rights. Once they know them, know how to get matters before a court of law for a ruling.

      • Xena says:

        Sorry, but I really need to get this off my chest. The following is from “How to Clear Your Illinois Criminal Record” published by the Office of the State Appellate Defender Expungement Unit.

        “The only felony convictions which qualify for sealing are Class 4 Drug Possession under Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act or Section 402 of the Controlled Substances Act, Class 4 convictions under the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act and the Steroid Control Act, and Class 4 Prostitution convictions under 720 ILCS 5/11-14. Certain special felony probations, such as TASC probation or First Offender drug probations under Section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act, Section 410 of the Controlled Substances Act and Section 70 of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act are not considered convictions and may be eligible for expungement or sealing.”

        Now imagine this. You are a person who plead guilty to possession of marijuana. That’s all you know. The legal aid programs and pro bono attorneys tell you that you can have your arrest record expunged yourself and they refer you to a Legal Self-Help Center. With know experience understanding statutes, you read the above at the Legal Self-Help Center. Will you understand it?

        It doesn’t end there. There are another 22 pages of information for the person to read.

        • Absolutely excellent comment. I am now functioning as my own lawyer in my legal case because I no longer am eligible in the appeal process for representation. I try to imagine others who are in my position, who must identify and argue pertinent legal positions and constitutional issues with the proper listed governing authorities, but the thing is, many of the people I was in prison with could not read or write. One woman had a father but he could not visit her in prison because he could not read the road signs to get there. Even given that spectacular handicap, jailhouse lawyers continue to produce better briefs than many lawyers, at least in this state, but yeah, the whole ‘system’ is rigged from start to finish for utter failure and destruction, and geared more toward guilty plea brokerage than anything else.

          The answer is “no, people will not understand this information.” Not at all.

          • Xena says:

            …but the thing is, many of the people I was in prison with could not read or write

            About a year into the first Legal Self-Help Center in Illinois, an independent firm conducted a survey of users. By that time, more Legal Self-Help Centers had opened in other counties, so the surveyors also interviewed the staff in 6 counties.

            The consensus was that the average Legal Self-Help Center user had 6th grade reading comprehension. Then there were those who, if given a copy of a filed pleading to use as an example, they were good writing, but horrible understanding the cause of action and elements that have to be proven.

            I’ve seen that same ignorance in comments by Zidiots.

            The best with your case, Crane-Station. I know that when writing your own papers things can get really personal and stressful. If you ever need independent eyes to read or proof, just get my email address from your dear husband and contact me.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Rather than expungement (or “setting aside” as it’s termed in some states), records should automatically be sealed at the appropriate intervals and should not be public records, as is the norm in many other industrialized nations. I have friends in the UK who are horrified that anyone can freely access other people’s legal and arrest records here. Our barbaric system continually punishes people who have already paid their dues.

        • Xena says:

          Rather than expungement (or “setting aside” as it’s termed in some states), records should automatically be sealed at the appropriate intervals and should not be public records, as is the norm in many other industrialized nations.

          Two sides, I agree in theory however, there is a standing proposition in America that the courts cannot grant relief not requested by filed pleadings. Expunging a court record requires a person of interest to petition the court.

          In Illinois, even a case of arrest resulting in dismissal by the State requires expungement. The petition has no waiting period and can be filed immediately. However, the process of waiting for the SA and State Police to file answers, schedule the court hearing and after the court granting expungement, having the State Police destroy mug shots and fingerprints, can take up to 6 mths.

          One thing that happened in my neck of the woods involved former employees of a huge plant that cut-back on staff. Some had worked there for 20 yrs., during which time, they were arrested for driving on an invalid license or other misdemeanors, or arrested and it was mistaken identity or something else where the State dismissed the charges against them. They maintained their employment 10 to 15 yrs thereafter.

          THEY HAD NO IDEA — none, that they would need to have those things expunged until they were laid off and began applying for jobs.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Understood. That’s why we need to follow the lead of more civilized countries and have arrest records automatically expire or seal after people fulfill their obligations. And these should only be accessible for agencies as well, not the general public.

        I have an old possession of marijuana charge – almost 40 years old – I’ve been employed in a number of different fields in gov’t and the private sector since then and never had problems with it until recently, even was accepted into teaching and the school system knew about it – I was applying for a new job near the crash of 2008 (excited about it because I had done the same tasks in another job and the new one would be very close to home) and told by this employer that they were skeptical about hiring me because I had a “checkered past.” Never mind my long work record, never mind my taxpaying home ownership, my education or anything else . . . needless to say, this was in the reddest county of a red state. And a state which doesn’t expunge, simply stamps “set aside” on your records, which still show an arrest , a plea, and the entire nine yards. I’m sure my age doesn’t help either, and I routinely bump the wall of age discrimination.

        So I’m familiar with the fallout and I really feel for people who have it much worse than me with more recent transgressions or false arrests and convictions. There are no words to describe the contempt I feel for this system and for the people who perpetrate it.

        • Xena says:

          There are no words to describe the contempt I feel for this system and for the people who perpetrate it.

          It’s actually two-fold. If not but for the fact that employers use background checks to eliminate applicants from qualifying for hiring, arrest records would not have “power.”

          Somewhere between workman’s comp and liability insurance carriers came the requirement that applicants testing positive for drugs (even prescription drugs such as Tylenol 3) and having any arrest record be eliminated from hiring consideration. HR personnel are generally unqualified to properly understand arrest records.

        • cielo62 says:

          Two Sides~ poor soul! You must be in Texas!

          ________________________________

      • Malisha says:

        Check into the Patrick Crusade.

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