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The Massachusetts 2010 CORI Reform Law Goes Into Effect on May 4, 2012

Significant changes to the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) law go into effect on May 4, 2012. Under the 2010 CORI reform we have already seen changes that were implemented as of November 4, 2010. As of that date employers are banned from asking questions about your criminal history on the initial written job application,unless the conviction information is required for a particular job pursuant to federal or state law. As of May 4, 2012, an employer must provide a copy of any criminal record information in that employer’s possession prior to questioning an applicant about their criminal history. If an adverse employment decision is made due to that individual’s criminal record, the prospective employer must give the job seeker a copy of the record that their decision was based upon.

SEALING YOUR CORI/WAITING PERIODS

One of the most significant changes under the new CORI reform relates to the waiting periods for sealing felony and misdemeanor cases. Under the new law the waiting period for sealing is now 10 years for felonies and 5 years for misdemeanors. The clock begins to tick when an individual is released from incarceration. If the sentence did not include a period of incarceration, the clock begins to tech at the time all court proceedings have been included including the end of any probationary term. It is important to note that an intervening conviction will reset the clock. Moreover, sealing your record does not occur automatically. It is very important to hire an experienced Massachusetts CORI rights defense attorney who will be able to review your entire criminal history, scan it for potential errors and inaccurate information, and file paperwork to correct your record so that you may be able eligible for sealing the record as soon as possible.

Under the new CORI reform law, there are procedures now in place to allow people the right to inspect and obtain a copy of their own criminal records. Moreover, new guidelines will be published to to help deal with the problem of correcting inaccurate information. The new law established a Criminal Record Review Board to hear complaints pertaining to violations of the CORI law, including the failure to provide a copy of your record before questioning by a potential employer or after an adverse decision regarding employment has been made.

Under the new law, CORI petitioners in their attorneys have the right to demand a free audit every 90 days to determine who is seeking access to their criminal records, information about when a person sought access, and the reason for doing so. Any unauthorized access could result in a criminal offense carrying jail time and monetary fines for the requester. Unless an individual acts, prior records will remain available for as long as the last conviction of the person’s record is still available to be disseminated to the requester.

Permanent access to convictions for murder, manslaughter, and sex offenses remain under the new CORI law. Non-conviction criminal cases that resulted in either a not guilty finding or dismissal are not supposed to be disseminated to most requesters under the new CORI law. However, mistakes are made and it is desirable to seal these types of results in the ordinary course when reviewing your CORI for sealing purposes.

WHO HAS ACCESS TO YOUR CORI?

Employers or potential employers, landlords, and professional licensing groups all have access to CORI subject to the aforementioned limits under the new law. Before gaining access to your CORI report, a requester must certify that they have received a signed authorization form from you. Please note however, there is expanded access for special classes of individuals, including victim, witnesses, long-term care facilities that must check for staff and volunteers, nursing homes and family law related cases.

SEAL YOUR CORI TODAY

Take advantage of the new CORI reform law today and seal your criminal record from view by potential employers, landlords and other authorized organizations. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, has the experience and dedication to ensuring that your CORI rights will not be violated when the new law goes into effect on May 4, 2012. At a time when our economy has been stagnant and jobs are difficult to obtain it is more important than ever to take advantage of the changes in the new CORI reform law so that you can feel secure knowing that potential employers, landlord and licensing boards do not gain access to information that is eligible for sealing. Attorney Murphy will represent you in court and petition a judge to order probation to seal your criminal record.

Contact Patrick J. Murphy, Esquire today for a free initial consultation of your CORI rights. Attorney Murphy can be reached at 617-367-0450 and will be happy to discuss your case.

SOURCES: American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute