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I am a former instructor for a local college, owner of a business school, honor student, and very active as a volunteer in my community.  I am also a convicted felon.

I was charged and convicted of passing a bad check which was a rent check to cover the cost of my rent for my business.

I asked the owner in good faith to hold the check until I took care of some issues that I had with my students paying, but I did not want to kick them out, and with having the bank and reopen the account which they were going to do.

The check was written in good faith, no malice, the landlord was not only aware of the situation but agreed to it. However, the landlord went to the bank prior to our agreed time, and then filed a police report and stated not only did I write him a bad check, but that I had infact had written 3 bad checks which were false.  Only 1 check did not clear and the other 2 checks were cashier’s checks that were given to the landlords property manager, as well as were cashed 3 days later.

Well, I have copies of the checks that cleared, but the judge did not want to see them, and he also allowed my attorney to call me a “Lieing Bi__h” (sorry for the explicits) in court and then denied my request for a new attorney because I felt that had imposed a severe conflict of interest, as well as I felt that at this point the attorney (court appointed) was biased against me and would not work in my favor.  The judge then told me no to my request and sentenced me to 1 year in prison.  All over a rent check for $1,800.00.

The appeals court did rule Abuse of Discretion by ordering me to pay back rent on top of the bad check charge, but still went to prison for 5 months, and on house arrest for 7months.

Why did I plead guilty? First my attorney requested the wrong phone records to prove harassment, Secondly, he never brought to the courts attention until the day of sentencing the Cashier’s Checks don’t bounce, Third, I did not have copies of my proof at the time, and Fourth, I felt totally intimidated by the Judge.  Why would I say anything else when it was clear, and as the my lawyer stated “The Judge doesn’t like you”.

I don’t understand why I was prosecuted off of a false police report, nor was I denied the right to show supporting evidence, and to terminate my public defender and higher a paid attorney at my own expense.

We as a society must become more voistrous on our rights and to challenge errors in the courts especially when they negatively affect our livelihood.

I am applying to law school, even after this, however, my dreams of becoming a lawyer are hanging in the balance because of this.

I think that expungement law should be revised in reference to the length of time between convictions, the number and type of felonies that can be expunged, and that a person with a record of a felony and misdemeanor can still be expunged.

All individuals who apply for expungement should be able to be heard before a panel of judges, not just one to ensure that there will be fair consideration. Or, if not a panel of judges then let people seeking expungement be judged also by their peers.

You should not still feel like you are completing your sentencing, when you have long ago completed your legal and moral obligations to society.

 

User story by Mrs. McDonald in Ohio

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One Response Leave a comment

  1. Lee Godfrey says:

    I was convicted of changing a prescription narcotic and have carried a felony for forgery for the last 15 years. I went to drug rehab and got clean right after I was caught. I got my masters and then became a drug and alcohol counselor for 10 years. I want to work in some otherfields as being a counselor is low pay and high stress;you are holding people’s lives in your hands. I cannot get employed because of this felony and have been told it could cost between 10,000 and 20,000 to go back to court to get it expunged. Meanwhile I am undesirable by employers especially since 9/11 and all the security checks. I am judged by my credit, my driving record and this felony all to work in retail or as a member of an organization that works toward getting food to families starving in 3rd world countries. I want to be of service to my fellow humans but, instead, I am at home, alone and wondering if I am worth anything to anyone.


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