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Courts Must Follow the Requisites of the Statute when Deciding Expungement Cases

 

Many people believe expungements in New Jersey only apply to criminal convictions and arrests. However, medical records can be expunged too.  When considering an expungement petition the court must follow the standard set forth in the statute.  The New Jersey Medical record expungement  statute states:

“Any person who has been, or shall be, committed to any institution or facility providing mental health services, or has been determined to be a danger to himself, others, or property, or determined to be an incapacitated individual as defined in N.J.S.A. 3B:1-2, by order of any court or by voluntary commitment and who was, or shall be, discharged from such institution or facility as recovered, or whose illness upon discharge, or subsequent to discharge or determination, is substantially improved or in substantial remission, may apply to the court by which such commitment was made, or to the Superior Court by verified petition setting forth the facts and praying for the relief provided for in this act.”

 

The Appellate Division recently reversed and remanded a denial of a medical record expungement.  In the case In Re M.L., Petitioner for Expungement the trail court denied a former police officers petition for expungement.  The officer voluntarily admitted himself for psychiatric treatment after an incident involving an unloaded gun and his estranged wife.  After being discharged from the institution the former police officer, in an attempt to get a fireams card, sought an expungement of his medical records.

The trial court denied the expungement because it found expungements were appropriate only when the medical records would be a source of “embarrassment,” and their content “would not impact” the decision to be made by a court or agency.  However, in making this finding the trial court disregarded the medical expungement standard which states,

“If the court finds that the petitioner will not likely act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and finds that the grant of relief is not contrary to the public interest, the court shall grant such relief for which the petitioner has applied and, an order directing the clerk of the court to expunge such commitment from the records of the court.”

Ultimately, the appellate court determined the trial court’s review was deficient as it failed to comply with the requisites of the statute. The trail court’s order was reversed and remanded for consideration by a different Law Division judge.

If you or a loved one needs a medical record or criminal record expungement we may be able to help. Contact the New Jersey Expungement Lawyers at DeMichele and DeMichele at 856-546-1350 for a free and confidential consultation. We offer fixed and flat fees for our services. We except Visa and MasterCard and payment plans are available.

Post Author: Greg DeMichele

Gregory P. DeMichele is a seasoned litigator, devoting a substantial part of his practice to municipal court, family law and personal injury matters.