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State, Commissioner of Human Services v. L.K.G.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 9, 2013

State of Minnesota, Commissioner of Human Services, Appellant,
v.
L. K. G., Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-08-24708

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Seth E. Dickey, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

Jonathan Geffen, Arneson & Geffen, PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Connolly, Judge.

RODENBERG, Judge

Appellant Minnesota Department of Human Services challenges the district court's supplemental order requiring appellant to seal files in its possession after statutory expungement of the record in respondent's dismissed criminal case. We affirm.

FACTS

In May 2008, respondent L.K.G. was charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. The case was continued for dismissal for one year on certain conditions. Because respondent successfully complied with the conditions of the continuance, the district court dismissed the charge on May 22, 2009.

Since 2006, respondent has sought employment in programs licensed by appellant or the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). He was authorized to work in such licensed programs prior to his 2008 arrest and until July 18, 2011, when appellant disqualified him from working in positions involving direct contact with, or access to, persons being served by certain licensed programs. After his disqualification, respondent sought several set-asides[1] for programs that are licensed by appellant, which were denied. The MDH granted appellant a set-aside in October 2011.

In December 2011, respondent filed a Petition for Expungement under Minn. Stat. § 609A.03 (2010) seeking expungement of all records, including DHS records that related to the 2008 charge. On January 31, 2012, through the office of the Minnesota Attorney General, appellant objected to respondent's petition for expungement and asked the district court to exclude DHS records from the expungement order. Appellant stated that it had determined by a preponderance of the evidence that respondent had committed a domestic assault, which was sufficient to disqualify respondent from future positions in DHS programs. There were no other objections to respondent's petition for expungement.

The district court granted respondent's request for expungement, noting that, under Minn. Stat. § 609A.03, subd. 5(b), respondent is "presumptively entitled to expungement unless the agency or jurisdiction whose records would be affected establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the interests of the public and public safety outweigh the disadvantages to the petitioner of not sealing the record." The district court concluded that respondent is entitled to statutory expungement because "[n]o agency or jurisdiction whose records would be affected has provided clear and convincing evidence as to why the records should not be sealed." The order directed the Minnesota Attorney General to "seal all files and records relating to the offense, [and] refrain from disclosing to anyone without court order the fact that [respondent] was charged in connection with the case." The order did not specifically address DHS records.

In October 2012, respondent was notified that appellant continued to disqualify him from employment based on the dismissed 2008 charge. Respondent petitioned the district court for reconsideration of its expungement order, requesting that the order specifically require appellant to seal DHS records. Appellant received notice of respondent's petition and did not respond. By supplemental order dated November 11, 2012, the district court specifically ordered that "[t]he Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services shall seal ...


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