United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
June 7, 2004.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ROBERT J. COFIELD
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge
This is an old case. Defendant was accused of stealing four tires from
an interstate shipment of freight. He pled guilty to the theft of one
tire and the government dropped the charge on the other three. Judge
Joseph Sam Perry accepted the plea and gave him two years probation. Now,
more than thirty years later, defendant asks for expungement "so that 1
may get a better job and seek a career."
There is no federal statute that allows for expungement of criminal
records in general and no specific statute that would apply here. There
is some law that finds the power to do this to be an inherent power of
the court. See United States v. Pinto, 1 F.3d 1069 (10th Cir. 1993) 1
think our Court of Appeals would find this power to exist with respect to
convictions, perhaps not even with respect to arrests. See United States
v, Janik, 10 F.3d 470 (7th Cir. 1993) Were there to be such a doctrine,
it would not be appropriate to apply it here. The reported cases
generally reject as good grounds for expunction the claim that it ought
to be done so that defendant can put it behind him or "get on with his
life" or "has been punished enough." Based on the skeletal claim here,
there is no ground for expunging a conviction the validity of which is
The defendant is free to write to the Pardon Attorney at:
Samuel T. Morison, Attorney Advisor Office of the
Pardon Attorney Fourth Floor, 500 First Street, N.W.
Department of Justice Washington, DC 20530-0001
A pardon may do him a lot more good than an expungement, and the Pardon
Attorney can inquire more readily into the details of defendant's life
after conviction. In any event, if there is a pardon, it would strengthen
his argument for expungement if it turns out this Court has the power to
The motion to expunge is denied.
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