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Nuñez v. Pachman: Decision Regarding the Expecation of Privacy on Expunged Records

  • Organization: 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Document Type: Case law/admin decisions
  • Date Created: Saturday, August 29, 2009
  • Submitted: Friday, October 30, 2009
  • Attachment(s): LINK

Nuñez v. Pachman - 3rd Circuit - August 26, 2009

Disclosure of an expunged criminal record held not to violate the federal due process clause.

The fact that a New Jersey statute law mandates removal of an expunged record from all public documents does not create a reasonable expectation of privacy in this information.

Because expungement is available only after a minimum statutory period of ten years has elapsed, and because references to a defendant's criminal conduct may persist in public news sources after expungement, the information expunged is never truly "private."

Even if the state recognizes a privacy interest in an expunged criminal record, the court decided that "such an interest is not cognizable under the federal constitution," whose protection of privacy is "significantly narrow that the right of privacy protected by state tort law." The state statute does not "harden the right of privacy into a constitutional right."

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