Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Expunge this

Tarrant County District Clerk Thomas Wilder has taken a lot of heat for refusing to sell county criminal recors to data vendors in bulk. Reported the New York Times ("Expunged criminal records live to tell tales," Oct. 17) “How the hell do I expunge anything,” Mr. Wilder asked, “if I sell tapes and disks all over the country?”

How indeed? For counties that sell such data, later expungement becomes basically meaningless.

A good solution would be stiff fines - even better, victim compensation, say, $10,000 per episode - for companies that failed to update their records and give out information about expunged cases. That's an issue the Texas Legislature could take up next spring.

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