Ms. A is a qualifying non-citizen (alien) for legal services. She was a victim of domestic violence in the early 2000s. She got into an altercation with her husband and was arrested. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Ms. A successfully completed probation and gained full custody of her daughter. Ms. A obtained a divorce and the child’s father is not active in his daughter’s life. He pays minimal child support. Ms. A wants to work and a be a contributing, tax-paying member of our community. She tried to get her case sealed pursuant to CPL § 160.59. This is New York State’s sealing law. Very few cases are eligible to sealed, no violent felonies, no sex-offenses, no police contact for ten years, and no more than two lifetime convictions. NYS CPL §160.59 (1)(a). Endangering the welfare of a child is a conviction that is eligible to get sealed. NSLS Staff Attorney Carly Sommers provided ample evidence of rehabilitation, including letters from her daughter’s social worker, a priest, letters of recommendation where she has worked, and former bosses.
The district attorney opposed the sealing motion. If the government opposes the motion, the court must hold a hearing. N.Y.S. CPL §160.59 (6). However, when Attorney Sommers went to court the Judge denied her sealing motion without a hearing. Attorney Sommers wrote a motion to renew and reargue. The district attorney then withdrew their opposition after a “plethora of information provided.” As a result, the Judge sealed the case.
Ms. A can now truthfully say she does not have a criminal record. A judicial order removing the sealing is needed to access her sealed conviction. She is active in her daughter, D’s life. The last time Ms. A met with Attorney Sommers, she showed her a video of D acting in a play. Ms. A wants to work so she can send her daughter to college. D wants to be a teacher.
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