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Expunged records raise concern over judicial fairness

Steve Myers of the Mobile Register reveals the existence of hundreds of court cases where convictions were removed from the public record. "The practice of expunging records came to the forefront recently due to the case of Mobile County school board President David Thomas, who was arrested for drunken driving in 1998. Before he was ever scheduled to appear in court, a Mobile municipal judge ordered that Thomas stay out of trouble for a year and that the DUI record be expunged. The file was held from public view until recently, when the Mobile Register learned of its existence and asked that it be opened. Hundreds of other expunged city cases - 268 last year alone, according to police - remain closed and are the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Register." The practice appears to happen much less frequently in the state courts.

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