Wednesday, January 01, 2003

pardon me

What does it mean to be pardoned by the Governor? Not a whole lot. Not nearly as much as having your innocent criminal record expunged. And innocent is the key. A pardon is something that may be granted to someone who is guilty of a crime. This does not erase the fact that the person committed the crime, nor does it erase her record. In Delaware, it is merely an acceptance of the apology of the criminal.

An expungment, on the other hand, is an erasure of the record of someone who was not adjudicated guilty of a crime. They were either acquitted, or their case was dismissed. If a person has no other criminal record, and they fall into this category, then they may be granted an expungment order which erases clean their record. They can legally even deny that they were arrested on that expunged charge.

There is a huge difference between these two processes. As shown in the News Journal, where an individual tries to get his civil rights back after a pardon, just to find out that a pardon doesn't mean much.

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