A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

seal_colorBy Burt Rose

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Commonwealth v. Giulian, 2015 WL 751570, 906 MDA 2014, 2015 PA Super 42 (Pa.Super. 2/23/15):

In 1997, Appellant pled guilty to the summary offenses of underage drinking, harassment, and public drunkenness. In a separate matter, nearly one year later, Appellant pled guilty to the summary offense of criminal mischief.

In 2013, Appellant filed petitions to expunge both the 1997 offense and the 1998 offense.The Centre County District Attorney objected to the expungement of the 1997 offense. The objection was based on the fact that Appellant had been arrested and pled guilty to the 1998 offense and therefore she had not remained arrest or prosecution free for the five years following her conviction for the 1997 offense and cited 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122(b)(3)(i):

(b) Generally.—Criminal history record information may be expunged when:

* * *

(3)(i) An individual who is the subject of the information petitions the court for the expungement of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction for that offense.

Thus, the issue was whether the language contained in 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122(b)(3)(i) allows expungement when the petitioner is free of arrest or prosecution for any five-year period following conviction, or for the five-year period immediately following the conviction.

The Court ruled that a defendant was required to remain free of arrest or prosecution for the five years immediately following her conviction for her prior offense. Therefore, as Appellant was not free of arrest or prosecution for the five years following the 1997 offense, there was no error or abuse of discretion in the trial court’s order denying her petition to expunge the 1997 offense.

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