MOTION TO SEAL PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RECORDS OF A NON-CONVICTION

February 5, 2023

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

CRIMINAL DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

                             Plaintiff,

v.

AHMAD S. ATAYA,  

                           Defendant.

CASE NO.: 

 

MOTION TO SEAL PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RECORDS OF A NON-CONVICTION

Defendant AHMAD S. ATAYA respectfully moves this Honorable Court pursuant to D.C. Code § 16–803 for an Order to Seal the publicly available records of his arrest.

In support of the Motion, Movant states the following:

  1. On or about February 25, 2017, the Movant was arrested by two officers from the Metropolitan Police Department. The Movant was charged with Driving Under Influence. 
  2. The Movant’s case was cleared by arrest on or about February 25, 2017. 
  3. Movant was arrested on suspicion of an eligible misdemeanor, as defined in D.C. Code § 16–801(7), and the instant Motion is being filed more than two (2) years after the termination of Movant’s case. The burden of proof is on the government to show by a preponderance of the evidence that it is NOT in the interest of justice to grant the relief requested. 
  4. When making such a determination, the Court shall consider the interests of the Movant, the community’s interest in keeping access to the records, and the community’s interest in sealing the records to increase the Movant’s chances of rehabilitation and employability. The Court may also consider facts surrounding the arrest and any other relevant information provided by Movant to support the claim that the relief sought is in the interest of justice or by the Prosecution.
  5. The Movant does not have any disqualifying conviction or any pending cases. 
  6. It is in the best interest of the Movant to have his records sealed because he needs a clean record to get a job.
  7. While the Movant recognizes the interest of society in retaining access to these records, the Movant believes that in this case, such access serves little purpose. The Movant was not convicted of a crime, and his arrest holds little interest for the public, including potential employers, because being arrested once for Driving Under Influence does not affect Movant’s ability to obtain work and exercise his skills.
  8. The community is also interested in having this arrest removed from the Movant’s permanent record. Notably, the Movant’s family might care because the Movant will get a job that will allow him to support his family.
  9. The Movant also requests his record to be sealed because he has demonstrated a desire to move past the incident through his subsequent actions. For instance, Movant has always avoided driving while under the influence of alcohol. This is evident because, since 2017, the Movant has never been arrested for that offense again. 
  10. For the reasons set forth above and in the accompanying Memorandum, the Movant requests that this Court order all publicly available records of Movant’s arrest be sealed. See D.C. Code § 16–803. 

WHEREFORE, for these and other reasons as may appear to the Court, Movant respectfully requests that this Motion be granted. 

 

 

 

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

 

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing Motion and accompanying Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion and Proposed Order was delivered to the Case Management Branch of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia this [ENTER DATE], for delivery to the following address:

 

[ENTER DEFENDANT’S ADDRESS]

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

CRIMINAL DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

                             Plaintiff,

v.

AHMAD S. ATAYA,  

                           Defendant.

CASE NO.: 

 

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO SEAL PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RECORDS OF A NON-CONVICTION

AHMAD S. ATAYA respectfully moves this Court pursuant to D.C. Code § 16–803, to Seal Publicly Available Records of a Non-Conviction.

According to D.C. Code § 16–803, to qualify for the sealing of publicly available criminal records, the Movant’s arrest charge must have been for an offense under the District of Columbia Code, and the Prosecution of that case must have been terminated without conviction. See D.C. Code § 16–803(a), 16–803(b). In addition, the Movant must wait for two years after the termination of the case before the Movant can move to Seal the records for the Non-Conviction. See D.C. Code § 16–803(a). Finally, there must be a preponderance of evidence to show that sealing the records is in the interest of justice. Accordingly, the burden of proof is on the government to show that sealing the records is NOT in the interest of justice. Id. As set forth below, Movant has satisfied all those requirements. The Court should therefore grant his Motion and issue an Order to Seal his records. 

Movant was arrested on February 25, 2017, for Driving Under Influence, an eligible offense under the Criminal Record Sealing Act. See Metropolitan Police Department Criminal History Report (Form PD-70) of AHMAD S. ATAYA, PPID No. 720664, attached hereto as Exhibit A; D.C. Code § 16–801(6), (7).

The Prosecution of Movant terminated without conviction on February 25, 2017. Accordingly, the Movant files the Motion to Seal the arrest records after the time prescribed by statute.

Granting the Movant’s request is in the interest of justice because sealing one’s record will remove a barrier individuals face in trying to reintegrate into society. Sealing the Movant’s record will make it easier for them to obtain employment and meaningfully contribute to society in other ways. The Committee on the Judiciary of the D.C. Council found when considering this law that the adverse impact a criminal record can have “is not just a concern of individuals seeking to seal their records, it is also a concern to employers who are seeking to hire employees but are prohibited from hiring those with criminal records.” D.C. Council. Comm. on the Judiciary, Rep. on Bill 16-746, the Crim. Rec. Sealing Act of 2006, 16th Period, at 2 (D.C. 2006).

Further, the Committee found that “[t]he District has a responsibility to engage in the meaningful rehabilitation of its citizens,” but that “[t]oo often, the stigma of a criminal record outweighs any rehabilitative efforts by the individual or the unique circumstances of their case.” Id at 4. “An arrest record alone has considerable potential for adverse consequences in the areas of private employment, government employment, government housing, admission to the military, and the acquisition of credit… Even a minor conviction can have consequences creating a de facto sentence without the possibility of parole.” Id at 1. (quoting Expungement Subcomm., Council for Court Excellence April 14, 2006, Rep. (D.C. 2006) (emphasis added). Finally, the Committee stated that it “believes that record sealing is an important matter of social policy [in the District].” Id. at 4. Here, the current and future hardships faced by the Movant because of his criminal record outweigh any social interest in keeping these records public. Specifically, the Movant has had difficulty obtaining a job because of the criminal record. 

For these reasons, Movant’s claim merits relief under Section 16-803. In the alternative, if Movant does not meet the requirements of Section 16-803, Movant requests that this Court grant him equitable relief and seal his arrest record according to Rezvan v. District of Columbia, 582 A.2d 937, 938 (D.C. 1990) (sealing is an equitable remedy and Court may grant relief independent of any other grounds for sealing arrest record).

WHEREFORE, for these and other reasons as may appear to the Court, Movant respectfully requests that the Motion be granted.    

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

CRIMINAL DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

                             Plaintiff,

v.

AHMAD S. ATAYA,  

                           Defendant.

CASE NO.: 

 

ORDER TO SEAL CRIMINAL PUBLIC RECORDS

Upon considering the Movant’s Motion filed under D.C. Code § 16–803 and the government’s response, the Court hereby finds that it is in the interests of justice to seal the public criminal records of the Movant’s arrest.

Accordingly, it is this _____ day of ________, 2021 ORDERED that:

  1. Movant’s Motion to Seal public criminal records, in this case, is hereby GRANTED.
  2. The prosecutor, the law enforcement agency responsible for Movant’s arrest, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Pretrial Services Agency, the D.C. Department of Corrections, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, and the Clerk of the Superior Court shall seal all of their publicly available records following D.C. Code § 16–803(1);
  3. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the Clerk of the Superior Court shall reply in response to any inquiries from the public, as defined in D.C. Code § 16–801(11), concerning the existence of any record about the Movant’s arrest that no records are available; and
  4. The Movant may not be found guilty of perjury or giving a false statement because of his failure to recite or acknowledge his arrest in this case, in response to any inquiry made of him for any purpose, except that the Movant must disclose the arrest sealed in this case in answer to any direct question asked in connection with jury service, or response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for any position with any person, agency, organization, or entity defined in  D.C. Code § 16–801(11). 

 

 

At Legal writing experts, we would be happy to assist in preparing any legal document you need. We are international lawyers and attorneys with significant experience in legal drafting, Commercial-Corporate practice and consulting. In the last few years, we have successfully undertaken similar assignments for clients from different jurisdictions. If given this opportunity, we will be able to prepare the legal document within the shortest time possible.