Chicago Indymedia : http://chicago.indymedia.org/archive
Chicago Indymedia

News :: [none]

Inaccurate Criminal Records Plague Wrongfully Convicted

After serving eight years in prison for a murder he didn't commit-and one year after winning acquittal in a new trial-Algie Crivens is still waiting for the state to clear his criminal record. His difficulties have fueled legislative efforts for automatic expungement of criminal records for the wrongfully convicted.
After serving eight years in prison for a murder he didn't commit-and one year after winning acquittal in a new trial-Algie Crivens is still waiting for the state to clear his criminal record. His difficulties have fueled legislative efforts for automatic expungement of criminal records for the wrongfully convicted.

In April 1999, Crivens won a new trial after an appeals court found that prosecutors in his 1991 trial had withheld evidence impeaching their key witness. A year later he was found not guilty in a new trial.

In prison Crivens had earned a bachelors degree from Roosevelt University and an associate's degree from Louis University. But his exhaustive job search resulted in rejection after rejection.

Criminal Record

Not till June did he think to check the Illinois Department of Corrections website. There his conviction, prison terms and release date were noted-but there was no indication that his conviction had been overturned.

It hadn't occurred to Crivens that his criminal record would not be corrected, and he faced a whole new set of barriers to clear his name. He filed an expungement request with the Circuit Court in June-with a $60 filing fee-and it was finally signed by a judge in December. Now he has to wait for the Illinois State Police (which charged him another $40), the Chicago Police Department and the FBI to act on his request.

IDOC has removed his name from its website but anyone calling IDOC's information line will be told of his murder conviction. An IDOC official told Crivens's attorney the agency has no procedure for clearing the record of someone wrongfully convicted.

Crivens recently began working at a Chicago nonprofit, counseling people moving from welfare to work. The agency contracts with the state, and last week Crivens's supervisor told him he would be fired unless DCFS receives his expungement papers, his attorney said.

Automatic Expungement

Crivens believes that individuals who were wrongfully convicted should receive automatic expungement. He has identified 15 people whose convictions were overturned-some with pardons from the governor-but whose criminal records remain in place. Today you can check the names of well-known cases-Rolando Cruz, Anthony Porter-and the IDOC website lists their convictions and release dates but gives no reason for their release.

Rep. Constance A. Howard is preparing legislation mandating automatic expungement for people found not guilty after serving prison terms. Other measures would clear records of arrests that don't result in convictions and provide for expungement of all criminal records after sentences are served and in some cases following a waiting period with no additional convictions.

Many employers and landlords routinely conduct background checks with law enforcement agencies and use them as a basis for decisions regarding hiring and housing, said Michael O'Connor, an aide to Rep. Howard. You can't fight crime by erecting obstacles to employment for ex-offenders, he adds. "The system is set up to keep you down," comments Crivens.
 
 

Donate

Views

Account Login

Media Centers

 

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software