Friday, February 06, 2009

Expungement of Record After Dismissal of Complaint OK

Yesterday, in Commonwealth v. Boe, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 647, the Mass. Appeals Court ruled that a district court judge could expunge a criminal record after a complaint was dismissed, and was not limited to sealing the record under MGL c.276, s.100C. "It is one thing to initiate a prosecution against a person who has a colorable involvement in a crime, but it is unacceptably Kafkaesque to initiate a prosecution where that person is disconnected from the charged crime. To allow Boe's name to be carried forward in court records in these circumstances would, as the judge found, constitute a miscarriage of justice, because sealing "does not render the sealed records inaccessible to law enforcement authorities." ... "The judge recognized that the sealing remedy of § 100C was neither applicable nor adequate, and properly applied the purging recognized by statute."