Keep the court records open: Senate Bill 108 would seal files, harming public knowledge of official actions – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials   Leave a comment

Keep the court records open: Senate Bill 108 would seal files, harming public knowledge of official actions – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

I applaud the Alaska Senate for returning to the US Constitution and think the editor who wrote this should be charged with something he did not do and then acquitted, so he too can be denied employment and home rental and wonder why certain children in the neighborhood aren’t allowed to play with his kids.

Because Alaska’s public records are online, they are a go-to source for many in the community for a down-and-dirty background check. The problem is that most of the public are not all that smart. They can’t distinguish between “charged with a crime” and “convicted of a crime”.

I have a friend who was accused of domestic abuse by her mother-in-law. She went through a court proceeding and a judge ruled that she had not abused or neglected her mother-in-law. The old lady was delusional. That non-crime is still on her record, still available for viewing by the public, and it has affected her.

First, there is the embarrassment of having her name on a criminal court list, even though she did nothing wrong. But there’s also a curious federal law that forever brands her a batterer even though she didn’t in fact do the deed. Because she was ACCUSED of domestic battery, she can’t buy a gun through a gun shop. That’s not a huge problem in Alaska where used guns are sold back and forth all the time in the private market, but if she ever wants to buy a new gun, she’ll have to use a straw purchaser.

She did nothing wrong. She broke no laws. She was deemed by a court of law to be not guilty. She retains her right to own a firearm, but because of a poorly-written law, she can’t shop in a certain store for a certain item.

As I said, the editor should go through it and then see if he changes his mind.

His excuse is that the public has a right to know about the charges when someone decides to run for election. Why? If the charges were dropped or the person was found not, then the jury system worked and it is none of the public’s business. We have got to get away from the stupidity in this country that claims a charge is as good as a conviction. While we’re at it, let’s get over the idea that because someone has been convicted of a crime they are forever more an untouchable, unable to get employment they are otherwise qualified for and unable to rent housing. It gives us a very convenient way to make serfs who can work in the shadow economy, but it is an evil in a society that claims it is built around the equality of all individuals.

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