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Archive for April, 2009

Teachers and Criminal Background Checks

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The Legislature is considering something of a fix to the current expunction process as it applies to teachers.  In the past few years, teachers have had to submit to fingerprinting and background checks.  More than a few that I’ve represented called in a panic when they realized that the dismissals of charges that we were able to obtain didn’t shield them from background checks for arrest records.

As reported in the San Antonio Express-News, the teachers now have their lobbyists involved, claiming that teacher’s privacy rights and need for protection from identity theft should entitle teachers to what can only be called a Super-Duper Expunction, providing protections above those enjoyed by other citizens.  The news outlets don’t like the impingment on First Amendment Newspaper-type rights.

Sometime soon, the citizenry will catch wind of the sale of their criminal histories by the State of Texas to offshore entities beyond the reach of Texas expunction orders.  Then, we will watch another flurry of bills in the legislature.  But, the cow has left the barn on that problem, I’m afraid.

Criminal Law and Immigration Law Policies

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The Harris County District Attorney’s office is looking at a new policy that would require individuals to swear under oath that they are in the country legally before being able to take advantage of a plea bargain for probation.  The Houston Chronicle reports that this policy, while not currently in effect, is being considered in an effort curb Houston’s problem with illegal immigrants.  The policy is at odds with some state laws which REQUIRES probation for certain first time drug offenders.