Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No jurisdiction to expunge criminal records in absence of challenge to underlying conviction.

In United States v. Rowlands, No. 05-3425 (3d Cir. June 9, 2006), the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a petition for expungement of a criminal record. The petitioner had argued that federal courts had jurisdiction over petitions to authorize the expungement of criminal records pursuant to their inherent equitable power and pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. The Third Circuit rejected the equitable basis on the ground that petitioner was not challenging the validity of the underlying criminal conviction, and rejected the statutory basis on the ground that the cases cited by the petitioner had been superceded by cases in their respective circuits.

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