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J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience:  Extensive training and experience in criminal law matters, both prosecuting and defending.
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A least 7 yrs. ago I received a misdemeanor charge for patronizing .

Customer Question

A least 7 yrs. ago I received a misdemeanor charge for "patronizing". I had hired a lawyer and thought I'd have a chance to explain to the judge the circumstances surrounding what had happened and why I was pleaing "no contest". My lawyer was aware of my professional background and the comments I made as a professional social worker but this information was never presented to the court. I was informed by another lawyer that, since I had a similar offense which was expunged approx. 10 yrs. ago, nothing could be done regarding my record. I basically encountered the ommission of several pieces of information that never surfased during the case and eventual resulted in me accepting a plea presented to me by my attorney of nolo contendere many months after the arrest.
I am not sure how to proceed or what might be some viable courses of action to pursue to remove this information from my public record. It's blocking me from securing needed economic advances both for myself and family.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 7 years ago.

The only option would be to try to reopen the case based on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, but that is a steep, steep hill in most cases and likely insurmountable in yours. The elements are:



1). Counsel's performance was not just a matter of quality, but that Counsel's representation of the Defendant was so seriously deficient that Counsel was not acting as a Counsel, and his action(s) or lack thereof, denied the defendant his Sixth Amendment Right (guarantee) to Counsel.

2). Counsel's performance, or lack thereof, prejudiced the defense so as to deprive the defendant(s) of a fair trial, and the verdict and/or result(s) that a fair trial would have rendered.

The problem is that you entered a plea. At the time of the plea you were instructed by the court about your rights and asked if you understood them. That colloquy will be recorded in the audio transcript of the hearing. Because of this, there is a 99.99% chance that any challenge would be fruitless.


Unfortunately, what you have been previously advised is also true and that this event can't be sealed or expunged.


The only other option would be a pardon. This will not erase your record, but the pardon will appear next to the charge.



Please let me know, if you have follow-up questions.


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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I agree and understand the comments you provided; I was informed from one lawyer about the pardon option and price; if I did agree to pursue a pardon I'm not sure about how this would be viewed, implications of it, etc. The other option (e.g., the 99.9% one) sounds more like what needs to occur just to announce to the public that such behaviors should not be occurring and how it really can ruin one's life. I feel like I'm in a forest and I lost and don't know which way to go!
Expert:  J.Hazelbaker replied 7 years ago.

I wish I could give you some more concrete and direct assistance regarding productive measures to take. I'm afraid your ineffective assistance claim would be a waste of your time, energy and money. The way the criminal "justice" system is constructed, I'm afraid the case would have no affec. One option to address the way you were handled, however, which just ocurred to me, would be to file an ethics complaint against your attorney. You can do so here:


That could be a way to make the public statement, without taxing yourself mentally and financially.


The pardon is not insignificant, but leaves the interpretation up to the viewer. It might lead to questions being asked, which gives you the opportunity to state your case. Most people dislike the the legal profession and the "justice" system, so it could create empathy.


Finally, your expungement should not appear! That's the whole purpose of the expungement. That needs to be addressed asap.

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