Acquitted Trooper Loses Battle For Expungement Of Record

James Sizemore, a former Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol trooper, was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly assaulting an individual. Sizemore was acquitted by a jury in May 2005.

Sizemore then requested that the federal Court order a number of different governmental agencies to expunge all records they held which referred to his investigation, arrest, or trial. Sizemore’s concern was that, even with his acquittal, the record of his criminal investigation and prosecution would likely disqualify him from police jobs in the future.

With one exception, the federal Court denied Sizemore’s request for expungement. The Court held that “mere interference with an acquitted defendant’s career is insufficient to warrant expungement relief against executive agencies. Expungement should be granted where unwarranted adverse consequences are uniquely significant in order to outweigh the strong public interest in maintaining accurate and undoctored records.”

The Court acknowledged that “while having an arrest record may have some impact on Sizemore’s ability for future employment as a law enforcement officer,” the Court found the impact not to be so “harsh and peculiar so as to warrant the extraordinary relief of expungement of executive agency records.”

The only records the Court did order expunged were those in its own files associated with Sizemore’s prosecution.

United States v. Sizemore, 2006 WL 1366020 (S.D.Miss. 2006).

This article appears in the September 2006 issue