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My name is Sammy Gaddis, and I was placed on Deferred Adjudicated Probation for Felony Theft in April of 2001. Since this time I have completely turned my life around and have become a college graduate, father of two beautiful kids, and husband. I have never taken drugs of any kind, and have not been in trouble with the law since. I coach youth basketball and adult football, and have become a role model for kids and adults in my community. The problem I am having is that I would like to start a career in Law Enforcement and cannot because of this stupid rule that one have to wait 5 years from the date of dismissal to have their record disclosed. I successfully completed my term on April 29th 2010, and after paying a total of $22,000 in fines and fees, I feel I should not continue to be punished for a crime that I committed over 9 years ago. I have since been laid off from my job and have found it very difficult to have a career because of my record. I feel that if a person does something wrong they should be punished, but if the justice system give them a sentence and they successfully complete that sentence then they should be forgiven and should be able to have a career and get their life back on track. With the way the economy is today, it is very difficult for us. Please whoever is receiving this letter, I pray that they petition congress and the government to change this law. I would like to be a Police Officer and cannot because of this law. I am on Unemployment Benefits until February of 2011, and once that has exhaulted, what am I supposed to do? It’s bad enough that employers are now checking your financial situation in order to get a job, but to have your criminal record looked at and taken into consideration is double jeopardy. I would even accept a hefty fee to have my record disclosed and would save up to do so, but please give me that opportunity. This is supposed to be America, land of the free. We tell our kids they can grow up to do or be ANYTHING they want to be, but we fail to tell them that not unless you wait five years after your date of conviction or probation. Bad things happen to good people, we hear that all the time. I am a good person with a good head on his shoulders and cannot be what I want to be because of a law that continues to punish me after I have complied completely with the law. That is REDICULOUS!  We need someone to please change this law!

User story by Sam in Montgomery County, Texas

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