The Expungement or Restriction of Arrest Records
Over the past decade, concern has arisen regarding the adverse effects stemming from the misuse of arrest records. Crime cannot be condoned, but once an arrested individual has been exonerated, the arrest record should be expunged and not allowed to remain a "record" to be used against him in the future. The scope of the following analysis will not include conviction records, records of civil cases, or military records of arrest and/or conviction under the Uniform Code of Military Justice though many topics to be discussed will also be relevant to such records. Further, since the juvenile court is not a criminal court, and because of the special status of juvenile records, they will not be considered herein, except to note that juveniles also need to be protected from the burdens of a record, and that statutes have provided this relief. This analysis will be concerned with existing statutory law, case law, and proposals relating to the expungement or restriction of adult, non-military, arrest records, i.e., the records of an individual who was arrested but subsequently exonerated because he was not charged, the charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or he was acquitted.