Freeman v. United States of America
ORDER denying 1 Motion to Expunge. For the reasons stated in the attached Memorandum & Order, this Court denies petitioners motion for expungement or sealing of his criminal record. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann on 8/15/2012. Copy mailed via Fed-Ex to Plaintiff.(Williams, Jennifer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROANNE L. MANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE:
Petitioner Kaheem Freeman, proceeding pro se, seeks an order to seal or expunge his
criminal arrest and conviction record based on his difficulty in finding or sustaining
employment. As set forth below, Mr. Freeman has not established a sufficient basis for
expungement, and his motion is therefore denied.
On July 25, 2001, Mr. Freeman pleaded guilty to a one-count misdemeanor information
charging him with obstruction of the mails in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1701. See Calendar
Entry (July 25, 2001), United States v. Kaheem Freeman, No. 01-CR-511 (RLM) (hereinafter
“Criminal Case”), Electronic Case Filing (“ECF”) Docket Entry (“DE”) #3. As a result, this
Court sentenced Mr. Freeman to twenty-eight months of probation and ordered him to pay
restitution in the amount of $6,965.77. See Judgment (Oct. 22, 2001), Criminal Case DE #10.
In support of his pending expungement motion, Mr. Freemen states -- and the
government does not dispute -- that he appeared for all of his court proceedings, completed his
restitution payments, and complied with the conditions of his probation.1 See Motion to
Expunge Criminal Record (June 28, 2012), DE #1. Mr. Freeman now asks this Court to seal
or expunge his criminal record because, he alleges, it has caused him difficulty in securing and
maintaining gainful employment. See id.
To determine whether expungement or sealing is appropriate, the Court must balance
“the government’s need to maintain arrest records” against “the harm that the maintenance of
arrest records can cause citizens.” United States v. Schnitzer, 567 F.2d 536, 539 (2d Cir.
1977) (citation omitted); In re Farkas, 783 F.Supp. 102, 103 (E.D.N.Y. 1992) (“expunction
should not be granted routinely after an acquittal or the dismissal of charges, but should be
reserved strictly for extreme cases of government misconduct.”).2 While the decision to order
expungement or sealing of a federal record rests within the equitable discretion of the court,
both are remedies that should be granted only in “extreme circumstances.” See Schnitzer, 567
F.2d at 539. “Examples of extraordinary circumstances that may justify expungement include
(1) ‘mass arrests’ conducted under ‘procedures [that] rendered judicial determination of
probable cause impossible’; (2) arrests made with ‘the sole purpose of . . . harass[ing] civil
The Probation Office for the Eastern District of New York has confirmed that Mr. Freeman
completed his restitution payments in March 2003.
“Courts analyze motions to seal and expunge criminal records under the same standards.”
See, e.g., Fernandez v. United States, Nos. 09-MC-326, 98-CR-902, 2009 WL 2227140, at *2
n.2 (E.D.N.Y. July 24, 2009) (citing United States v. Feret, No. 05-mj-00075 (KAM), 2007
WL 2262867 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2007); United States v. Robinson, No. CR-04-0580 (VVP),
2007 WL 2077732 (E.D.N.Y. July 18, 2007); Lyp v. United States, No. 06 MISC 361 (CLP),
2007 WL 188689 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 22, 2007)).
rights workers’; (3) ‘police misuse [of] public records to the detriment of the defendant’; and
(4) ‘arrest[s] . . . based on a statute later declared unconstitutional.’” Fernandez v. United
States, Nos. 09-MC-326, 98-CR-902, 2009 WL 2227140, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. July 24, 2009)
(quoting Schnitzer, 567 F.2d at 540 (citations omitted)).
Not infrequently, arrest records result in adverse employment decisions. While this
Court is sympathetic to Mr. Freeman’s difficulties in locating and maintaining employment,3
courts in the Second Circuit have consistently held that adverse employment effects do not,
without more, warrant expungement of an arrest record, even where -- in contrast to this case
-- the arrest did not result in a conviction. See Schnitzer, 567 F.2d at 540 (affirming denial of
motion to expunge arrest record where the indictment had been dismissed and defendant
claimed difficulties in entering rabbinical profession); Fernandez, 2009 WL 2227140, at *1-2
(petitioner was denied expungement of her record despite her claim that it prevented her from
obtaining employment); Feret, 2007 WL 2262867, at *2 (denying motion to seal or expunge,
where defendant alleged that his employment prospects had been affected by his arrest, even
though the criminal complaint had been dismissed); United States v. Daisley, No. 95-M-059
(SMG), 2006 WL 3497855, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 5, 2006) (denying motion to expunge an
arrest record due to difficulty in securing gainful employment, despite the fact that the case had
been dismissed ten years prior); Slansky v. Clerk, U.S. Dist. Court, No. 96 CIV. 2338 (JFK),
1996 WL 312401, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. June 10, 1996) (declining to expunge arrest record where
The government correctly notes in its responsive papers that Mr. Freeman has not provided
any substantive details about his denied or missed employment opportunities. See
Memorandum in Opposition (July 23, 2012) at 1 n.1, DE #3.
petitioner alleged he had been fired when his arrest came to light during a background check,
even though the complaint was dismissed prior to indictment); In re Farkas, 783 F.Supp. at
104 (expungement of petitioners’ twenty-year-old arrest record was denied, despite earlier
dismissal of charges and argument that failure to expunge would affect his existing
employment). Moreover, Mr. Freeman has not provided any specific examples or evidence as
to why his situation qualifies as an “extreme circumstance.” See Fernandez, 2009 WL
2227140, at *2 (expungement denied in part because petitioner did not cite any examples that
would support a finding that her situation was extreme or harsh). Accordingly, Mr. Freeman’s
motion for expungement or sealing is denied.
For the reasons set forth above, this Court denies petitioner’s motion for expungement
or sealing of his criminal record.
The Clerk is directed to enter this Memorandum and Order into the ECF system and to
transmit a copy to petitioner via Federal Express.
Brooklyn, New York
August 15, 2012
Roanne L. Mann
ROANNE L. MANN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?