NO DUE PROCESS RIGHT TO EXPUNGE 32 YEAR-OLD FELONY TRESPASS CONVICTION (no matter how good you have been)
In the case of Commonwealth v. Romeo, No. 272 EDA 2016 (January 3, 2017), the PA Superior Court affirmed the denial of Romeo’s motion to expunge the record of his 32 year-old conviction for third-degree felony criminal trespass. Romeo claimed the court’s reliance on statutory law prohibiting expungement of conviction history under his circumstances deprived him of his due process right to a judicial assessment of his interest in avoiding harm attendant to maintenance of the conviction record against the Commonwealth’s interest in preserving the record.
Romeo demonstrated “long-term, commendable post-conviction conduct despite the real and varied difficulties of living with a conviction record.”
Although the Superior Court expressed “sympathetic understanding of the enduring challenges confronting one determined to live a post-conviction life of accomplishment and contribution” it nonetheless, discerned no due process-based authority to mandate an expungement inquiry requiring a balancing test (i.e. – individual’s right to be free from the harm attendant to maintenance of the arrest record against the Commonwealth’s interest in preserving such records).
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