Facts of Underlying Conviction Not Enough to Deny Expungement Petition in Ball v. State

Posted 1 year ago — Ooley Law Blog

In Ball v. State, 20A-XP-1521, a man filed a petition for an expungement after he had been convicted of two felony offenses when he was sixteen years old but had been a law-abiding citizen for the past twenty years. He tendered letters to the trial court attesting to his good character and strong work ethic. He is married and has four children, but his convictions prevented him from volunteering at the children’s schools. He has owned a real estate business for eighteen years and a heating and air conditioning business for twelve years, but his convictions prevent him from servicing certain clients. He is also an active volunteer in his community, but certain organizations do not allow him to volunteer because of his convictions.

The trial court denied his petition for expungement, relying on the fact the value of the stolen guns was more than $16,000, and the Court of Appeals reversed. Noting that while the trial court had the discretion to consider that fact in determining whether to grant or deny the petition, that fact alone was simply not enough to support the denial of the petition when all the other evidence supported expungement.

The court also observed that the expungement statute, IN Code 35-38-9-7, should be liberally construed to advance the remedy for which it was enacted. Cline v. State, 61 N.E.3d 360, 363 (Ind.Ct.App. 2016), abrogated in part on other grounds in Allen, 159 N.E.2d at 585. Held, judgment reversed and remanded with instructions.

You an view the full opinion here: