Pennsylvania law provides several methods to protect or dispose of a criminal record. Methods to protect a criminal record from public view include expungement, limited access, clean slate limited access, and pardon. Expungement is a relatively limited right in Pennsylvania, but individuals do have a right to expungement upon receipt of a governor’s pardon. This right was created by case law. However, not every state follows this model. The recently enacted Clean Slate Limited Access Act created automated sealing for certain offenses, including cases where the Governor issued a pardon. This created a system of double protection for criminal records pardoned by the Governor. This Comment outlines the approach taken in Pennsylvania toward protecting or limiting criminal record information. It further discusses this approach in light of precedent and current statutory law. Finally, this Comment argues that, with the passage of the Clean Slate Act, automatic expungement after receiving a governor’s pardon is no longer the best approach. Instead, Pennsylvania courts should apply the same interest-balancing approach to petitions for expungement after a pardon that courts apply to all other petitions for expungement.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.