Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Expungement, Rejects State’s Arguments
We recently learned the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed an expungement order sealing all records related to my client’s controlled substance charge. Barring an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, this caps what seemed like a yearlong roller coaster journey.
In March of 2014, a Minnesota district court granted my client’s expungement request pursuant to Minnesota Statute § 609A.02, subd. 1. Specifically, the judge signed an order sealing all records related to my client’s involvement in controlled substance charges. My client hoped this expungement would open up employment opportunities and allow him to better provide for his family.
The State appealed nearly two months later.
In its brief to the court of appeals, the State argued for reversal of the district court’s decision on three grounds: 1) subdivision 1 and subdivision 3 of the expungement statute irreconcilably conflict; 2) the district court applied the wrong standard and erroneously granted the expungement request; and 3) the State could not enforce the district court’s expungement order. In our brief urging the court of appeals to affirm the district court’s order, we argued: 1) the State’s argument, if accepted, would lead to an absurd and/or unreasonable result; 2) the district court correctly decided my client proved by clear and convincing evidence that the expungement would yield a benefit to him commensurate with the disadvantages to the public; and 3) the State is fully capable of enforcing the expungement order, but it does not want to.
In its decision released this week, the court of appeals summarily rejected all the State’s arguments and affirmed my client’s expungement. The court of appeals held, “We find no error in the district court’s order sealing criminal records related to that offense, and we affirm.”
This is a great result for my client who wants nothing more than to move on from a poor decision he made years ago.