Aug 20, 2016
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In high school (nearly 7 years ago now) I was charged with a crime, but the charges were later dropped. The records were sealed when I was 18. California state law says:

Once the court has ordered the person’s records sealed, the proceedings in the case shall be deemed never to have occurred, and the person may properly reply accordingly to any inquiry about the events, the records of which are ordered sealed.
(http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&sectionNum=781.)

Nothing shows up on my Certiphi check. However, I saw that one of the schools I would really like to attend also does FBI background checks. Has a sealed juvenile record ever showed up in an FBI background check? I really want to go to this school but I don't want to have a possible acceptance rescinded post-acceptance, which would pretty much screw me in terms of getting into other schools.

I guess the sensible thing would be to just not take a risk and only apply to schools that don't have secondaries that ask me to disclose whether or not I was ever charged with a crime, but it's still pretty infuriating that schools are even allowed to ask this. Seems like a complete subversion of the judicial system in my opinion.

I guess I'm just kind of upset because I already spent money submitting my secondary because I thought that my Certiphi background check being clean would be enough.
 

liquidsodium

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It really sounds like California state law is saying you can pretend it never happened -- if it were me, I'd probably keep it quiet and cite that statement if the FBI report says otherwise. I'll defer a more insightful answer to someone else, though. Tricky situation!


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Hmmm... so I thought I hit a wall in my research, which is why I came to SDN. But I did some more research and found that apparently you can request an FBI background check on yourself. (http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=181904)

I think I'll do that and if my FBI record isn't clean then I'll just cancel my (potential) interview.

Even so, I'm still hoping that anyone with any experience with these situations could offer their opinion.

It really sounds like California state law is saying you can pretend it never happened -- if it were me, I'd probably keep it quiet and cite that statement if the FBI report says otherwise. I'll defer a more insightful answer to someone else, though. Tricky situation!


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Yeah I was planning on doing that at first. But I feel like if a medical school really wanted to rescind my acceptance, they wouldn't care what my excuse was for not answering their secondary "truthfully".
 
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mimelim

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Legally, you can answer however you please.

Most schools however will expect you to be truthful and if they find out you lied, they are likely to see it as very negative. As to how likely theyes are to find out, depends on a lot of unknowable factors.

Generally, faculty are relatively understanding of things in the remote past and pre-18. Certainly not universal, but it all simply depends on your risk tolerance.
 
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Med Ed

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In high school (nearly 7 years ago now) I was charged with a crime, but the charges were later dropped. The records were sealed when I was 18. California state law says:

(http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=WIC&sectionNum=781.)

Nothing shows up on my Certiphi check. However, I saw that one of the schools I would really like to attend also does FBI background checks. Has a sealed juvenile record ever showed up in an FBI background check? I really want to go to this school but I don't want to have a possible acceptance rescinded post-acceptance, which would pretty much screw me in terms of getting into other schools.

I guess the sensible thing would be to just not take a risk and only apply to schools that don't have secondaries that ask me to disclose whether or not I was ever charged with a crime, but it's still pretty infuriating that schools are even allowed to ask this. Seems like a complete subversion of the judicial system in my opinion.

I guess I'm just kind of upset because I already spent money submitting my secondary because I thought that my Certiphi background check being clean would be enough.
You're better off consulting an attorney than looking for answers here. A lot of people have a difficult time wrapping their heads around an event being deemed never to have occurred. You could also have a trusted friend call the admissions office and ask directly. While this has not happened in my experience, I suspect that if we ever rescinded an acceptance over an undisclosed sealed juvenile record from California, we would get sued and probably lose.
 
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gonnif

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You're better off consulting an attorney than looking for answers here. A lot of people have a difficult time wrapping their heads around an event being deemed never to have occurred. You could also have a trusted friend call the admissions office and ask directly. While this has not happened in my experience, I suspect that if we ever rescinded an acceptance over an undisclosed sealed juvenile record from California, we would get sued and probably lose.
While an attorney is your best bet for accurate info, in general, statutes for sealing court records have specific exceptions for opening, typically for law enforcement and health care employment. The issue that this presents for medical schools is not the admission to school itself but rather for the ability to work in clinical rotations as these are done by agreement between the hospital and the medical school, even if they both belong to the same system ( they are legally two different entities). In the worst case scenario if you dont disclose and it is discovered 2 years from now when you start rotations, the hospital could ban you, the school could then "rescind" your acceptance for failing to disclose. You would not have recourse in that case. However, if you were to list this when asked on secondaries when asked, and the school accepted you, they would be under obligation to find you clinical placements.

This will continue to be an issue into residency and jobs. Your sealed recorded will not protect in most states from this. I would have to agree with @gyngyn on this. Either fully disclosed when asked or do not complete secondaries at schools that do. Personally, I think just send them all in, answering honestly when asked else it can bite you in the a$$ years later


http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/expunging-or-sealing-a-juvenile-court-record-californ
 
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DokterMom

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Claiming that you were never in any legal trouble would not be honest and could bite you in the butt some time in the future. But it seems pretty clear that you could 'legally' claim this and be within the 'letter of the law' --

I'd suggest you 'dance' on the topic and admit that you made some bad choices as a minor from which you've learned, and also that you are fortunate to have no criminal record that needs to be disclosed.
 
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Claiming that you were never in any legal trouble would not be honest and could bite you in the butt some time in the future. But it seems pretty clear that you could 'legally' claim this and be within the 'letter of the law' --

I'd suggest you 'dance' on the topic and admit that you made some bad choices as a minor from which you've learned, and also that you are fortunate to have no criminal record that needs to be disclosed.
Definitely very wise advice and I would totally do this if I didn't think they would ask about it in interviews, etc. I just can't imagine putting something like that out there and not having people raise their eyebrows a bit and proceed to pry.

As much as I want to just put all this behind me, I think the best course of action for me is actually to do what @gyngyn said and just avoid schools that ask about it. It's kind of unfortunate but it is what it is. First world problems anyways, I guess.
 

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While an attorney is your best bet for accurate info, in general, statutes for sealing court records have specific exceptions for opening, typically for law enforcement and health care employment. The issue that this presents for medical schools is not the admission to school itself but rather for the ability to work in clinical rotations as these are done by agreement between the hospital and the medical school, even if they both belong to the same system ( they are legally two different entities). In the worst case scenario if you dont disclose and it is discovered 2 years from now when you start rotations, the hospital could ban you, the school could then "rescind" your acceptance for failing to disclose. You would not have recourse in that case. However, if you were to list this when asked on secondaries when asked, and the school accepted you, they would be under obligation to find you clinical placements.
Yeah, I get that, but this remains a murky legal area. While my life has been short, I have personally witnessed zero coordination between secondary application author(s) and the relevant parties at clinical rotation sites. Perhaps your experience has been different, but I have yet to see deans of admissions, deans of student affairs, and clinical education deans sitting down with appropriate counsel to hammer out clear verbiage about what applicants must disclose and what, if anything, they are permitted to not disclose. We just get these lazy "have you ever" prompts, which strand the student between the school and the court.

I also believe a dean of student affairs would be falling down on his/her job to not run all necessary background checks up front rather than leaving a required NCIC inquiry until two years in. In fact, I would be in favor of abandoning the criminal history questions entirely and simply asking the applicant to explain anything and everything that turns up on a trifecta of Certiphi, state police, and NCIC checks.
 

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@Med Ed

oh I quite agree, the likelyhood of this riskoccurring is extremely small but the potential impact of the risk is enormous.
 
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gyngyn

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Yeah, I get that, but this remains a murky legal area. While my life has been short, I have personally witnessed zero coordination between secondary application author(s) and the relevant parties at clinical rotation sites. Perhaps your experience has been different, but I have yet to see deans of admissions, deans of student affairs, and clinical education deans sitting down with appropriate counsel to hammer out clear verbiage about what applicants must disclose and what, if anything, they are permitted to not disclose. We just get these lazy "have you ever" prompts, which strand the student between the school and the court.

I also believe a dean of student affairs would be falling down on his/her job to not run all necessary background checks up front rather than leaving a required NCIC inquiry until two years in. In fact, I would be in favor of abandoning the criminal history questions entirely and simply asking the applicant to explain anything and everything that turns up on a trifecta of Certiphi, state police, and NCIC checks.
A requirement of attendance can be predicated on the ability to obtain a badge at particular hospitals.
If these hospitals have access to juvenile records (and they do), the student and the school are harmed by having accepted him if his offense precludes issuance of a badge. Even if they eventually issue a badge, it may have cost the student a year of study which could have productively done elsewhere. In either case, knowing the nature of the offense beforehand can smooth out the administrative hurdles for minor offenses.
 
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A requirement of attendance can be predicated on the ability to obtain a badge at particular hospitals.
If these hospitals have access to juvenile records (and they do), the student and the school are harmed by having accepted him if his offense precludes issuance of a badge. Even if they eventually issue a badge, it may have cost the student a year of study which could have productively done elsewhere. In either case, knowing the nature of the offense beforehand can smooth out the administrative hurdles for minor offenses.
JFC, I get that, but there is a problem with the system when the court, pursuant to state law, says one thing and institutions wanting access to sealed juvenile records say another. IMHO this discordance should be resolved.
 

gyngyn

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JFC, I get that, but there is a problem with the system when the court, pursuant to state law, says one thing and institutions wanting access to sealed juvenile records say another. IMHO this discordance should be resolved.
No argument there.
The odds however, seem slim at the moment.
 
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gonnif

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JFC, I get that, but there is a problem with the system when the court, pursuant to state law, says one thing and institutions wanting access to sealed juvenile records say another. IMHO this discordance should be resolved.
no, most state statutes authorizing sealing of court records specifically allow exceptions for employment background checks in law enforcement and healthcare. their is an assumption that sealing of records is absolute which is not correct.
 

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no, most state statutes authorizing sealing of court records specifically allow exceptions for employment background checks in law enforcement and healthcare. their is an assumption that sealing of records is absolute which is not correct.
If we're talking about convictions that's one thing. I know states like California have a list of over fifty deal-breaker convictions for certain classes of healthcare workers. It is, IMHO, reasonable to have language on an application along the lines of "have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, including convictions that have been sealed or expunged?" I have worked in more healthcare facilities than I care to remember, and have held medical licenses in multiple states, I believe such language would be congruent with what I have seen on some forms.

The grey zone problems arise when we are talking about cases like the OP's, where the individual was a juvenile, charges were dropped, and the law states (emphasis added): "the case shall be deemed never to have occurred, and the person may properly reply accordingly to any inquiry about the events..." The applicants did not write the rules of the judicial system, so the people writing the application questions should take the time to spell out exactly what is required.
 
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gyngyn

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The grey zone problems arise when we are talking about cases like the OP's, where the individual was a juvenile, charges were dropped, and the law states (emphasis added): "the case shall be deemed never to have occurred, and the person may properly reply accordingly to any inquiry about the events..." The applicants did not write the rules of the judicial system, so the people writing the application questions should take the time to spell out exactly what is required.
They do.