“Now he can legally vote in Hudson County” – State v. R.D.

[02/09/11 – 12:46 pm] On January 28, 2011, Hunterdon County Superior Court Judge Stephen B. Rubin signed an order expunging the criminal record of a person who had previously died. The petitioner in the case, R.D. died in 2010 as the result of suicide. At the time of his death, he had several criminal complaints and a local ordinance charge pending. The expungement order will remove the arrests, as well as other entries from R.D.’s record with the police, corrections and the courts.

Somerville attorney Richard Uslan, who handled the case at the request of R.D.’s family, noted that this type of expungement is probably a first in New Jersey. “It was extremely important to the family that his name be cleared and that he can now be memorialized without the stigma of involvement with the criminal justice system,”

Uslan went on to note that, “This unique case extends the application of the expungement statute. The law already allows the criminal records of corporations to be expunged, and so long as the basic conditions have been satisfied, there is no time limit within which to file the application, either during the petitioner’s life or, as illustrated by this case, following his death. In fact, this case may even establish an additional obligation for estate attorneys to find out whether a given decedent is eligible for an expungement of criminal records that was not brought during the his lifetime and discuss this new option with the surviving family members.”

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