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Expungement of Dismissed Civil Protection Order

Ohio Supreme Court Rules That Court Record of Dismissed Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order is Eligible for Expungement and Sealing of Record

A decision of the Ohio Supreme Court in October 2013 expanded the misapplication of Ohio’s law related to Expungement and Sealing of Record.  (Schussheim, Appellee, v. Schussheim, Appellant. Supreme Court of Ohio, 137 Ohio St.3d 133, 2013-Ohio-4529)  The Supreme Court held that a trial court has the inherent authority to grant an application to expunge and seal a dismissed record pertaining to a dissolved CPO in an adult proceeding when unusual and exceptional circumstances exist.  Prior to the Court’s decision, expungement had never been applied to CPOs for adults. Further, Ohio’s Expungement and Sealing Statutes applied to adult criminal records and juvenile court records.  The Courts recent decision appears to break the barrier that previously existed between criminal records and civil records with respect to expungement and sealing of records.

Relying on a previous decision of the Supreme Court, Pepper Pike v. Doe, 66 Ohio St.2d 374, 421 N.E.2d 1303 (1981), the court recognized that courts have inherent authority to grant the judicial remedy of expungement and sealing of records in “unusual and exceptional circumstances.”    The Supreme Court reasoned that, “The inherent authority of a court to expunge and seal a record does not turn on whether a proceeding is criminal or civil. Rather, the determination is whether “unusual and exceptional circumstances” exist and whether the interests of the applicant outweigh the legitimate interest of the government to maintain the record. (Schussheim, paragraph 16)

Expungement and sealing of a Civil Protection Order was not possible until this decision.  This new ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court raises the question of what extent an argument of “unusual and exceptional circumstances” may be applied to other expungement and sealing of record cases.  Combining this with the on-going expansion of the Expungement and Sealing Statute that became effective in September of 2012, there is certainly a trend to expand what convictions and dismissed records can be sealed and who is eligible to apply for sealing of their record.  Surely there are many people who have been haunted by old criminal or civil records, who were not previously eligible under statute or case law, but who should now reconsider if this ruling will make them eligible to remove an old record of a past mistake.

Our law firm has been in business and located in central Ohio since 1988.  We know Ohio laws for expungement and sealing of criminal records.  As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, we have the knowledge to make your expungement and sealing successful.  We handle cases in all 88 counties of Ohio.

Contact our Ohio law firm for a confidential and free consultation.  Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records in Ohio.