Ohio Senator Introduces Bill That Would Let Ex-Convicts Try To Erase Online Information About Their Arrest

from the the-internet-never-forgets dept

You may remember a story from last year about a convicted murderer in Germany trying to use a law that was designed to protect an individual’s name and likeness from unwanted publicity, to demand Wikipedia remove all information about him, such as his murder conviction. Apparently, some US politicians think something similar is a good idea. Thomas O’Toole points us to a report of an Ohio state senator who has proposed a bill that would allow repeat offenders the ability to “delete their record” from public view, which (stunningly) might also require newspapers to remove all old articles about their arrests and convictions:

Under threat of a $250,000 fine, the bill would require individuals, newspapers and other news media to delete stories from the Internet and their archives about the arrests and convictions of those who win expungement orders.

If a party knowingly released information about a sealed conviction, they would face a $500,000 fine. The damages would double to $1 million if the banned information was available on the Internet.

As the article notes, this almost certainly violates the First Amendment and the concept of prior restraint. The state senator in question, Shirley Smith, claims that people are misinterpreting the bill, and it was not intended to apply to news stories (even though, as written, it certainly appears to do exactly that). Smith says that language requiring “business organizations” to not publish such information is actually targeted at former employers of individuals, saying they cannot disclose a conviction to potential new employers. The idea behind the bill is to make it easier for ex-convicts to get jobs. Of course, it’s still difficult to see how disclosing factual information like that should ever be considered illegal.

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Comments on “Ohio Senator Introduces Bill That Would Let Ex-Convicts Try To Erase Online Information About Their Arrest”

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darryl says:

Oh Dear, here we go again !!! :)

such as his murder conviction. Apparently, some US politicians think something similar is a good idea.

Now Mike YOU KNOW that is not true, so why say it, if you had of read the article you linked us too, you would have read something like THIS:

(by)allowing nonviolent criminals with multiple convictions to apply to seal records documenting their offenses after five years of clean conduct.

I dont know mike, but do you really think murder is nonviolent crime ?????


As for ‘repeat offenders’, you CANNOT be a repeat offender, and not have offended for 5 years, (ie, “5 years of clean conduct”).

Multiple convictions and repeat offender are two totally seperate things, AS YOU SHOULD WELL KNOW MIKE..

Whats the go, was the story not juicy enough for you, forcing you to sex it up a bit ?

Or do you expect most people here will not check your claims, and “sources”, to find out if you are telling porkies or not.. 🙂

It would be great to see you get some facts right one day, but I dont hold high hopes.

Mike P says:

Re: Oh Dear, here we go again !!! :)

Nitpick much? To the lay-man, “repeat offender” and “multiple convictions” are synonymous. Seeing as how this probably wasn’t submitted as requirement for a JD, I think it’s safe to say that the terminology used herein was more than adequate to describe the issue.

darryl says:

Re: Re: Oh Dear, here we go again !!! :)

Nitpick much?

What do you think ?

“To the lay-man” who cares about the lay-man, but to YOU, you might not see a difference, but to most people there is a vast difference. Mabey you should even just google the terms to get a bit of an idea..

Ok, so you lazy,, cool..

Recidivism (Repeat offender)
IS the act of a person repeating an uindesirable behaviour after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behaviou, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior,

That people are REPEAT OFFENDERS, they get busted for a (usually specific crime) and once out of prison they REPEAT THE OFFENSE.

That is **NOT** what “multiple convictions” are, you can have multiple conviction and not even be remotely like a repeat offender.

And it has to be non-violet, and its not for repeat offenders, as they are offending repeatidly, and not being ‘clean for 5 years’.

But if you go out on the town, you drink too much, you get caught speeding, and DUI, and you commit some other non-violent crimes, you may go to prison, and you may have multiple convictions.

But again, multiple convictions you can get at one instand, and easily be ‘clean for 5 years’. A repeat offender, will offend within that 5 years, so he misses out, unless he changes his way, (and stops being a repeat offender).

So again, im right. The heading and the content and the implication that murderers would be able to take advantage of this law is simply not true, there is another term for when things are not true.. Can you work out what it is.

But again, you argument fails, (even for the lay-man), and its not the lay-man that decides these issues.

So please (mike) get your ducks in a row and facts right before sexing up articles.

And tell us why its a bad thing that a 21 year old who did something really stupid, on a big night out and had multiple NON-VIOLENT convictions (all from the same single incident). that his career and possible job prospects should be forever damaged.

And what if someone just does not like him (never happens to me !!).. ?? and just tries to hurt him,

Or what if you were going for the same position, it would be good to ‘leak’ some dirt on your competition to increase your chances.

Or is it that you just dont like the legal system protecting people who have commited low level crimes over 5 years ago, who have done their time, or paid their fines. But that is not enough for you ? you want to brand them for life because of one night on the town?

Repeat offender and multiple conviction are NOT the same things, totally different.. And Mike should be aware of that, he claims to talk to the beaks all the time.. !

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh Dear, here we go again !!! :)

I think is wonderful imagine all those pedos trading photos they deserve protection right?

All those white collar bandits that deceived the public and government, all those politicians.

Bankers robbing the public deserve protection that is great.

Did you do something at 21 you regret Darryl? This ring a bell to you?

Besides for a country that have 30% of its population with some criminal record, job should not be a big problem because 1 in 3 persons in America are ex-convicts.

RD says:

Re: Oh Dear, here we go again !!! :)

“It would be great to see you get some facts right one day, but I dont hold high hopes.”

Says the troll who ROUTINELY gets things wrong and then REDUSES to own up to it when called out on it. When you point it out to darryl, and demand an accounting, he invariably replies with some variation of “I see no need to answer your hate” or some concocts other avoidance. So, since you never answer for YOUR inaccuracies or lies,




Internet Blog Comments everywhere

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Yup Pretty Silly

From the draft bill:

(C)(1) Within thirty days after the entry of an order sealing official records issued pursuant to section 2953.32, 2953.322, or 2953.52 of the Revised Code, any private individual, business organization, or other nongovernmental entity having records that include information concerning any arrest, complaint, indictment, trial, hearing, adjudication, conviction, or correctional supervision derived from or in substance identical to information in the official records that have been ordered sealed shall delete the information from the records or destroy the records.

It looks like the related sections are defining cases where the court will seal documents for first time offenders or other cases.

I’m not sure how this would apply to a convicted murderer, but the concept of erasing every individual’s and organization’s memory does seem a bit off.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Yup Pretty Silly

> I’m not sure how this would apply to a convicted murderer, but the
> concept of erasing every individual’s and organization’s memory
> does seem a bit off.

Not to mention the issue of jurisdiction. The article makes no mention of how Ohio plans to force web sites (like The Smoking Gun) based in other states to obey Ohio law. And that doesn’t even touch the issue of international jurisdiction.

This happens every time a story like this pops up. The issue of jurisdiction and the impracticality (if not impossibility) of enforcement, which would make the proposed law nothing but a tremendous waste of money, is completely ignored by the journalist reporting the story.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Coincidence?

Doesn’t much matter what district she’s from. She’s just another goddamn politician, looking to make some kind of political hay with someone, for some reason. Sounds like maybe most of her district has been busted at some time or another, probably for dope-related offenses, and because that is deemed “non-violent” by idiots who weren’t murdered for non-payment by their drug dealers, it should be forgiven, forgotten, and verboten to speak of ever again. All I have to say is that none of these politicians do anything out of the goodness of their hearts, and you don’t have to look too far or too hard to discover their real agenda.

darryl says:

Re: To the Coward

Feel honoured, I do not usually ready, or respont to AC’s.

Is this law useful for me ?
What type of question is that, what do you mean ‘usefull’.

It guess its as usefull to me, as is the law on driving your car faster than the speed limit.

So you work it out !..

But I dont think any law is usefull to me or anyone, unless that law has been applied on your behalf.

Ie, if a law protects me from being killed by someone driving over the speed limit, or under the influence then that law is usefull me to. It kept me alive.

The law that says you are not allowed to kill other people, is probably usefull to me in that there is less chance im going to be killed by someone.

Why should anyone be punished by the court of public opinion, after they have made their mistake, and paid the price for that mistake.

What if its a your man, under age, caught drink driving, they do a search and find a small quantity of pot on him and a pipe. Bingo, in one hit a kid out on the town has multiple convictions.

But he is not a repeat offender, there is a difference, a massive one.

So AC, are laws useful for you ? Or would you prefer to have no laws, and no protection for citizens rights ?

I get the impression from many who post here, including Mike, that you all would love to live in the lawless wild west, where the biggest gun, and biggest balls wins the day.

Yea, that would be just great !!.. go for it. /sarc..

Its really astonishing that from sites like TD it appears US citizens have absolutely zero respect for others privacy or RIGHTS..

No wonder you are always at war with so many countries, (or yourselves).

Sometimes you want to be carefull what you wish for, sometimes you might get it, and it wont be anything like how you expected..

Niall (profile) says:

Other law changes

Here in the UK we have the concept of a ‘spent’ conviction. Usually after a certain time (often 5-10 years), any conviction not resulting in a significant jail term (usually less than 2-1/2 years I believe) can be considered as ‘spent’ and in many cases can be legally not mentioned in job interviews, etc. Counter to this, any job involving children or vulnerable people has exemptions from this. See Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Essentially it stops a ‘minor’ misdemeanour blotting someone’s life forever after. The ‘spent’ bit only works if the person avoids further trouble though. There is no requirement to ‘remove’ information that is in the public space – for instance, court records will still exist, as will any reporting in the subject.

Where I can see this as a problem is that if it is a state law, it’s going to run into massive jurisdictional issues, or create a massive problem/cost for bodies within Ohio, compared to organisations without.

Sure people have a right to privacy, up to a point, but you can’t re-write ‘history’ to ‘cover it up’.

out_of_the_blue says:

Newspapers will not be required to remove old articles.

Please acquaint yourself with common sense and common law. No statute can overturn either Constitution or common law to require anything of the sort; all such provisions are null and void. (That the gov’t goes ahead with unlawful acts is due largely to willful stupidity by citizens in bowing to the “authority” of public *servants*.)

Pixelation says:

Beyond online

FTFA…”It also would require individuals and private businesses to erase the historical record by destroying “records” they hold about the convictions of those whose cases are sealed.”

This sounds to me like they would also have to destroy any physical copies also.

On another note…
Someone who’s record gets expunged will repeat and people will be outraged that it was allowed to happen.

David Allsebrook (profile) says:

Can you say "1984"?

I have been rereading the classic novel 1984 about the poor schloob (spelling uncertain) whose job it is to retroactively revise newspapers. The old newspapers must be retrieved, every last one, and replaced by editions in which the government forecasts what now turns out to be the case, government officials quoted then who have now disappeared are excised, etc. It is a big job. Is “1984” now an Ohio Civil servant’s handbook?
Who was the genius who said that getting content off the internet is like getting pee out of a swimming pool?

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