The Standards of Review For Your Expungement Appeal


When it comes to an expungement appeal, there are certain standards of review that the court must employ. Here is a quick guide to those standards and how they can affect an appeal.

First off, the court must review the decision for any abuses of discretion. The appellate court needs to determine whether or not the district court used arbitrary or erroneous reasoning when coming to its decision. If the district court applied the law incorrectly, then the appellate court must factor that as well. The overarching ideal is that the appellate courts should review any conclusions of a district court without considering the district court’s decisions.

The expungement law in Minnesota is still in its early years, so there may be many opportunities for appeal the more expungement hearings are held. One of the sticking points may be with regards to waiting periods. Should the waiting period start when the offender is discharged, or counted back from when the petition is filed, for instance. It is very difficult in general to overturn a court’s decision.

In many cases, the district court’s decisions are upheld as the appellate court seems to generally agree or defer to their decisions. That does not mean that you should not consider an appeal. If you and your legal team feel the law or the facts were misinterpreted, then it is your right to appeal.

When looking at the numbers, it is surprising to see how often a district court actually does misapply facts in regards to the 12 benchmarks that need to be met to deny an expungement. The district court is required to respond, in writing, with regards to how they considered those 12 factors and how they felt that they were not met. If they do not, then the decision may be remanded back to be clarified. If the appellate court finds that those considerations and determinations are wrong, then they may overturn the decision.

If you feel that the ruling for your expungement petition was erroneous, you do have options available. Contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in expungement law to help you get a better result with your appeal.

If you’re need of an expungement, the Law Office of Mark Herman can help. Reach out online or call 612-382-4545 for a free consultation.

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