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Continued: Readers Write: (July 18): Immigration, foreclosures, orchestra and U fundraising, hiring ex-felons

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  • Last update: July 17, 2013 - 6:40 PM

Guess it depends on how much you want it

Recently University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague boldly proclaimed that the school is about to embark on a mission to raise $190 million dollars in an attempt to save its athletic programs (“Pricey plan for Gophers athletics,” July 11). Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, the board of directors of the Minnesota Orchestra Association (some of the most powerful, wealthiest, influential and best-connected people in the state) are telling us they can’t raise enough money to save the 110-year-old, world-class orchestra because of a bad economy.


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Courts are proving to be an obstacle

It’s refreshing to see Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature working together to accomplish something: measures to aid former felons by limiting disclosure of past criminal records and allowing sealing of some “old criminal records” (“Both parties unite to give ex-­felons a new chance,” July 8). But the laudable legislative efforts to give offenders a “second chance” are running into stiff resistance from another quarter: the judiciary.

Two decisions of the state Supreme Court this spring imposed new obstacles on those seeking to expunge or redact their prior brushes with the law, even juvenile records, and another decision — just last week, by the Court of Appeals — did likewise. The trio of rulings curb the discretion of judges to direct the sealing or expungement of criminal records held by law enforcement authorities, even if they conclude that the existence of old criminal charges may unfairly impair the ability of a rehabilitated individual to obtain employment or otherwise get on with their lives. While they have authority over judicial records, the courts are restricted under these rulings, from ordering the sealing of criminal records lodged in law enforcement files, where they usually can do substantial damage.

The Legislature deserves credit for recognizing the propriety of giving rehabilitated offenders a fresh start. The courts, unfortunately, are operating at cross-purposes, perpetuating injustices long after justice has been served.


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