Don Edwards: Argument on the Misuse of Criminal Records, 1972

Authored by Diana Carillo

Chairman Don Edwards, Subcommittee No. 4 on the Judiciary opening statement on the misuse of criminal records.

Chairman Don Edwards, Subcommittee No. 4 on the Judiciary opening statement on the misuse of criminal records.

Introduction

H.R. 13315 92nd congress, is a bill of the United States Code to provide for the dissemination and use of criminal arrest records in a manner that insures their security and privacy. On March 16th, 22nd, 23rd and April 23rd and 26th, 1972, security and privacy of criminal arrest record hearings were made before Subcommittee No.4 of the Committee of the Judiciary House of Representatives.  Committees of the Judiciary are often referred to as the lawyers of the House of Representatives, due to “its jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” (Goodlatte). This document provides the opening statement of chairman Don Edwards of California and his belief of the misuse of criminal records.

Don Edwards

Don Edwards was a Democrat representative from California, born in San Jose, Santa Clara Country, California on January 6, 1915. Don attended law school at Stanford University Law School. In 1940 Edwards became a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was elected as a Democrat to the 88th from the 10th Congressional District and to the fifteen succeeding congresses in 1963 and served until 1995. Edwards was also the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for 23 years. This court case was one of many that Edwards had worked hard on to bring to light the misuse of criminal records, and how the misuse affects the future lives of people who were convicted.

The Artifact

In Edwards’ opening statement, he gives examples as to how the lives of those who were convicted and released are impacted by the misuse of criminal records. He states, “A recent survey, for example, has shown that 75% of the employment agencies in New York City refuse to recommend an individual with an arrest record regardless whether it was followed by conviction.” This statement proves how for those who were arrested and not even convicted have trouble getting job recommendations because their record is available for employers to look at. Even today with advanced technology and the World Wide Web, anyone can view someone’s criminal record. If a normal patron wanted to look up someone’s criminal record they can easily access the information on instantcheckmate.com. All a person has to do is type in the name of who they are looking up and the state they reside in and they have the information right in front of them.

In this court hearing, Edwards states, “we intend to take a hard look at the arrest record problem and come up with a method of protecting individuals’ privacy while at the same time recognizing and safeguarding the objectives and needs of law enforcement officials.” Doing further research on individuals’ rights during an arrest, the fourth amendment seems to appear a lot. The fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution “protects personal privacy, and every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses, and property” (2014). A person who is convicted of a felony has rights and the forth amendment ensures that, and the use of these conviction records should only be in the hands of law enforcement and nothing more. They have a right to their privacy, and this amendment should be “method” enough to protect those individual rights.

References

Edwards, William Donlon, “Biographical Information,” Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=E000064

“Security and Privacy of Criminal Arrest Records, Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 4 … , 92-2, on H.R. 13315, March 16, 22, 23; April 13 and 26, 1972,” 1972. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from https://archive.org/stream/securityprivacyo00unit/securityprivacyo00unit_djvu.txt

Goodlatte, B., “About the Committee,” Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/about-the-committee

“Instant Checkmate – The Internet’s #1 Source for Background Checks,”Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.instantcheckmate.com

” ‘Search and Seizure’ and the Fourth Amendment,” Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/search-and-seizure-and-the-fourth-amendment.html

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