For years, individuals previously convicted of certain low-level crimes (also evictions, juvenile matters, etc.) and their attorneys have expressed legitimate concerns about the limited effects of Minnesota expungements. Under a previous and somewhat controversial decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court, district courts considering expungements only had authority to seal or destroy judicial records, leaving related records maintained by non-judicial sources open and accessible. This meant that records at police departments, business screening services, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Department of Human Services remained available to the public regardless of any Court order mandating the expungement of an individual’s criminal record.
Starting next year, that may no longer be the case. Last week Governor Dayton signed into law a bill, previously passed by the legislature, which significantly expands the effectiveness of expungement orders. It contains multiple changes, including the ability of a court to compel business screening services to delete records pertaining to known expungement orders. These changes will likely help those who receive expungements to more readily find employment and housing because their past infractions will no longer be public.
For those wanting to check out the specific details, you can see the amended language here. This is the version presented to the governor, though the final and official text will not be available until the summer.