Alabama Pardons don’t really work…
For the Arson conviction, I was sentenced to 15 yrs split to serve 3 yrs in the Dept. of Corrections, with the balance of 12 yrs suspended to be served out on 5 yrs probation.
For the Assault conviction, I was sentenced to 1 yr split to serve 6 months in the county jail.¬† Both sentences were concurrent.
In October 1999, I was granted an early release from the Dept. of Corrections because under the Alabama Split-Sentence Act, the judge retained jurisdiction to modify any part of sentence.
I was released and started my 5 yr¬†probationary sentence.¬† I¬†completed my probationary sentence in 2002 and was discharged from probation.
From 2000 to 2010, I went to college and¬†acquired 3 Associate degrees and 1 Bachelor degree.
I applied for and received a full state pardon from the Alabama Board of Pardons & Paroles in January 2007.¬† I apparently “dazzled” the Pardon & Parole Board to such an extreme, that in addition to granting my civil & political rights back, they granted my gun rights back to me.
So today, I can legally purchase a firearm, pass a NICS check via a¬†PIN number that was issued to me by the FBI, and I hold in my possession, a CCW permit issued to me to by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office that is valid in 32 states.
However, herein lies the problem with the state pardon.¬† In Alabama, there is no statute that authorizes the expungement or sealing of a criminal conviction.¬† The state pardon does not afford that opportunity.¬† So technically, I am still considered a “felon” whenever I apply for a job and a background check is done on me.¬† I have lost out on getting accepted to pharmacy school, been denied an instructor position at a local vocational school, and have gotten passed over for a co-op opportunity with several pharmaceutical companies.
This is where a criminal records sealing statute is needed, because Republican leadership in the Alabama does not like the idea of expungement because they want criminal records to remain accessible to prosecuting authorities, law enforcement, and criminal justice agencies.