By Alia Javaid, Alex Jimenez & Wendy Moya
ALAMEDA, CA – A man—convicted about four years ago of drug, firearm and assault charges—appealed to an Alameda County Superior Court judge Thursday to have his old charges expunged to help him in the workforce.
Rick Doe* alleges that he has changed since these convictions, but said they stand in the way of his new job if his employer performs a background check.
Defense Attorney Mona Patel from the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office represented Doe, and argued Doe has made choices which demonstrate his commitment to moving on from this part of his life.
“These are pretty serious charges and they are not that long ago,” said Judge Karin S. Schwartz.
Convicted of possession of large quantities of methamphetamine and a short-barreled rifle, as well as shooting at an unoccupied car, Doe was seeking to get some of his criminal record expunged at the court hearing.
The prosecution, Deputy District Attorney Veronica Rios Reddick, opposed Doe’s petitions to reduce 2 felony charges to misdemeanors. Reddick did not oppose Doe’s petitions to reenter not guilty pleas in order to seek expungement.
Defense attorney Patel implored the judge to grant Doe relief as he has taken progressive steps on a path of rehabilitation, Patel said, noting Doe’s customers for whom he has been working as a handyman as well several family members sent letters vouching for his trustworthiness.
According to Patel, Doe moved away from the negative influences of his old neighborhood and is now living near his mother and derives emotional support from his girlfriend, who is a social worker.
Patel argued Doe is an intelligent, kind, and hard-working professional with seven years in the workforce and a degree in engineering, but not able to secure a permanent job because of his criminal record. She concluded by pointing out that the defendant stands to lose his recently acquired job after the background check is completed.
Judge Schwartz expressed her disinclination at granting the relief based on the seriousness of charges and the fact that the crime took place only four years ago. And she pointed out that there was no sworn testimony by Doe as well as no supplemental information to support the rehabilitation claim.
The defense requested a continuance in order to provide supplemental support and the court date was set to continue at a later date.
*Name changed for anonymity