United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
April 22, 2002
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ANNETTE AIGLE, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur D. Spatt, United States District Judge.
On August 7, 1990, the defendant Annette Aigle ("Aigle" or the
"defendant") pled guilty to a one count misdemeanor charging the theft of
postal money orders in excess of $90 in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1711.
Presently before the Court is a motion by the defendant to expunge the
records of her arrest, conviction and sentence in their entirety or, in
the alternative, to permit disclosure of these records only to law
On or about June 29, 1990, the Government charged the defendant with
stealing postal money orders valued at $38,374 and $1,200 in cash while
she was employed as a window clerk for the United States Postal Service.
On August 7, 1990, the defendant pled guilty to a one count misdemeanor
charging the theft of postal money orders in excess of $90. United
States Magistrate Judge David A. Jordan then sentenced the defendant to
three years probation, six months home confinement, a $8,725 fine and
restitution in the sum of $39,574.
On October 1, 1991, the defendant pled guilty to a violation of her
probation. In particular, the defendant pled guilty to providing a false
statement to a probation officer in two instances, failing to inform her
probation officer of an arrest and violating the special conditions of her
home confinement with numerous unauthorized leaves from her residence.
Judge Jordan then sentenced the defendant to five months and twenty-eight
days in jail.
After her release from jail, the defendant lived with her mother and
worked full time at an undisclosed job. At some point thereafter, the
defendant moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and attended the University of Las
Vegas where she received a degree in social work in 1998. During the
time that she attended the University of Las Vegas, she worked as a
at the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las
Vegas. While attending the University of Las Vegas, the defendant gave
birth to a baby girl. She is currently a single parent maintaining sole
custody and financial support of her child.
Presently, the defendant works as a social worker for the State of
Nevada. Her duties involve the coordination of rehabilitation services
for individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries. The defendant
claims that the State of Nevada has initiated a program to determine
whether their employees have criminal records and to then terminate those
individuals who are convicted of crimes. The defendant states that she
will be unable to maintain her current employment or obtain future
employment with the State of Nevada due to her prior conviction. As a
result, the defendant seeks expungement of her criminal record.
"[E]xpungement lies within the equitable discretion of the court, and
relief usually is granted only in `extreme circumstances'." United
States v. Schnitzer, 567 F.2d 536, 539 (2d Cir. 1977). "[T]he power to
expunge is a narrow one, and should not be routinely used whenever a
criminal prosecution ends in an acquittal, but should be reserved for the
unusual or extreme case." Id. (internal quotations and citations
omitted). Examples of "extreme circumstances" are "where procedures of
mass arrests rendered judicial determination of probable cause
impossible, where the court determined the sole purpose of the arrests
was to harass civil rights workers, where the police misused the police
records to the detriment of the defendant, or where the arrest was proper
but was based on a statute later declared unconstitutional." Id. at 540
(internal citations omitted).
This case involves neither mass arrests, harassment of civil rights
workers, misuse of police records nor an arrest based upon a statute
later declared unconstitutional. Rather, this case involves a defendant
who pled guilty to the theft of postal money orders shortly after her
arrest. In addition, the defendant violated her probation for, among
other things, providing false information to a probation officer.
Accordingly, "extreme circumstances" warranting expungement do not exist
in this case.
In addition, the defendant's contention that she will be unable to
maintain her current employment or obtain future employment with the
State of Nevada due to her prior conviction is not a proper ground for
expungement. See United States v. Ortiz, No. 86-0836, 1999 WL 92281, *1
(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 18, 1999) (stating that the defendant's inability to
obtain better employment did not justify expungement of 13-year old fraud
conviction); United States v. Fields, 955 F. Supp. 284, 285 (S.D.N.Y.
1997) (stating that "the difficulties faced . . . in finding and keeping
a steady job do not rise to the level of `extreme circumstances' required
before a court will exercise its inherent power to expunge."); United
States v. Farkas, 783 F. Supp. 102, 104 (E.D.N.Y. 1992) (same).
Accordingly, the defendant's motion to expunge the records of her
arrest, conviction and sentence in their entirely or, in the
alternative, to permit disclosure of these records only to law
enforcement entities, is denied.
Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
ORDERED, that the motion for expungement is DENIED in its
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