Ohio Court Denies Sealing Of criminal Records After Pardon
A divided Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that judges don't have the authority to seal the criminal records of offenders pardoned by the governor. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, writing for the majority, says lawmakers have never shown any interest in extending record sealing to individuals who receive pardons. The court said in a 4-3 ruling Wednesday that until the Legislature changes the law, "a pardon provides only forgiveness, not forgetfulness." At issue was a 2011 pardon by former Gov. Ted Strickland of an offender convicted of crimes in several counties more than 30 years ago, including a Franklin County doughnut shop burglary. Dissenting Justice Paul Pfeifer says the offender's right to privacy after an unconditional pardon outweighs the state's limited interest in keeping the files open.