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Supreme Court Limits Relief of Expungements

The Minnesota Supreme Court has once again restricted the relief district courts are allowed to offer individuals seeking expungements in Minnesota. On May 22, 2013, the Court issued its decision in State v. M.D.T. 

The Minnesota Supreme Court has taken the position that ordering agencies outside of the court system to seal their records of convictions is not a necessary judicial function inherent in the performance of a court’s duties.  

If you were convicted of a crime in Minnesota, you may still be eligible to seek an expungement of the court records, but any records of that conviction maintained by agencies outside of the court system will likely remain open to the public.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued a decision in the same case in 2012. There, the Court of Appeals held that district courts can use their inherent authority to seal the records held by executive agencies, such as police departments and the BCA, even in cases that resulted in convictions.

However, the Supreme Court limited the reach of the Court of Appeals’ decision in its M.D.T. opinion. This means expungements in Minnesota may not offer the full relief people are seeking.

At this point, it is going to be difficult if you wish to expunge all records that resulted from a criminal conviction in Minnesota. This doesn’t mean you can never get an expungement of criminal records kept by agencies outside of the court system.

If criminal charges were filed but later dismissed, or if you were found not guilty after a trial, then you are still entitled to an expungement of all criminal records related to the charge(s), including any records kept by outside law enforcement agencies. The expungement relief offered in State v. R.H.B. still exists despite the Court’s ruling in M.D.T.  

As noted in this site’s previous post, if criminal charges were dismissed or you were acquitted after trial, you are still presumed to be entitled to an expungement of all records maintained by the courts and outside law enforcement agencies.

So, while Minnesota continues to offer a fairly significant amount of expungement relief, that relief has been reeled in a bit by the Court’s latest decision in M.D.T.  The exact expungement relief available will continue to depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

Contact Us

Contact the Minnesota expungement lawyers at Arechigo and Stokka if you would like to discuss a possible expungement of criminal records. Our Minnesota expungement attorney will review the facts of your case and determine whether you qualify for expungements in Minnesota.

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John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense.  He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime. John offers what very few other Twin Cities criminal defense lawyers can offer. His combination of experience, success, connections, resources, accessibility, and complete handling of a client’s file sets him apart from his colleagues.

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