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Q: Criminal Record / Immigration issue ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Criminal Record / Immigration issue
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: madurai-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 Sep 2006 14:07 PDT
Expires: 22 Oct 2006 14:07 PDT
Question ID: 767660
My friend Mary  is a Green Card holder living in the US for many years.

At some point Mary was issued an emergency restraining order initiated
by her spouse. But the spouse changed his mind, went back to the court
and vacated the emergency restraning order against Mary about four
days after the order.

About 2 years after this event Mary was re-entering the US after an
international trip. Since she was a green card holder the officer
checked her record by running the green card on the system. After that
Mary was told by the immigration officer that a restraining order was
active against her name. She was questioned about that. But Mary told
them that restraining order was vacated. So she was admitted back into
the country. After this event Mary went back to the court that issued
(and later vacated) this order to see if the vacate order was entered.
The court confirmed that it was done. Mary also got proof from the
court that the order was vacated. Beyond that she did not know what
else to do.

The next time Mary took another international trip and was coming back
into the US she was stopped again and questioned for  the same thing.
She was again told that there was an active restraining order against
her name. She again explained and this time showed proof that the
order was vacated. So she was let go. But the officer told her that he
thought this information was on her NCIC record and active, but he
would put a msg in indicating that it was vacated.

What can Mary do to fix the problem so that the record is corrected
and make sure that she will not be stopped the next time she enters
the country from an international trip. Does she need to hire a lawyer
to fix the problem? Can she do something herself?

Subject: Re: Criminal Record / Immigration issue
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 22 Sep 2006 16:25 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Dear madurai-ga; 

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. You wil
note our disclaimer that we cannot provide legal advice in this forum.
A qualified attorney is the best source of information.

As it turns out however I can qualify what I know about this situation
by first letting you know that I am a certified NCIC terminal operator
and I have held an advanced certification for some 25 years. I?m not
only well versed in the advanced application of the system but I also
supervised a terminal site for many of those years and taught various
aspects of the system to novice operators as well.

That said, I believe the information that Mary conveyed to you about
what the ?officer? told her was either misunderstood by her or
misinformed on the part of the officer. Let me explain:

Each National Crime Information Center (NCIC) terminal has it?s own
Originating Agency Identifier (ORI), a unique a nine-character
identifier assigned by the FBI NCIC to an agency and more specifically
to each terminal within that agency.  In today?s vernacular this would
be similar to a unique telephone number, license number or email
address. Typically when a record is entered into NCIC via the National
Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) that record can only
be purged by the entering ORI. There are two exceptions to this rule:
--  Some agencies have an administrative terminal which can purge
records entered at any terminal within their own agency.
--  Some NCIC records such as missing persons, some firearms, and
other unaccounted for articles are automatically purged by the system
when a locating agency places a ?locate? on them notifying the
entering ORI that the person/article has been found.

With regard to warrants, restraining orders and other similar writs,
it is only the entering ORI that can modify, delete or amend the
record. Having said that, when I read that the officer told Mary that
he ?that he THOUGHT (indicating uncertainty) this information was on
her NCIC record and active, but he WOULD PUT A MSG IN indicating that
it was vacated?, I immediately suspected on of them or both of them
did not understand the process.

What the officer might be able to do is to send an NLETS
Administrative Message (AM) to the entering ORI (similar to a standard
email) indicating that there is a discrepancy with the record. This
would, in no way, directly affect the record, modify it or delete it.
In fact, without credible and authoritative information to support his
message, the truth is that the message could very well have simply
been disregarded, especially if it were received after normal business
hours when the discrepancy could not be researched or confirmed. On
the other hand, the officer may not have sent the message at all and
disregarded the whole issue himself.

In short, there is not much Mary can do ON HER OWN to resolve this
problem unless she is willing to boldly demand a correction (I?ll get
to that in a moment). The entering ORI must modify or delete the
record from the entering terminal (or admin terminal) where the entry
originated. Only THEY have the authority to do this. Otherwise the
integrity of all NCIC records in the Domestic Violence Restraining
Order System (DVROS) and other archives would be vulnerable to
malicious, accidental or unscrupulous manipulation.

I suspect the lingering record is simply an oversight that can be
corrected in the few minutes. I recommend Mary do one or more of the

Physically pay a visit to the Court Clerk and explain the problem. She
should request some type of written confirmation or other
authoritative assurance that the record has been modified to reflect
it?s change of status or deleted. If the Court Clerk cannot (or will
not) provide this confirmation she should request to speak to the
Judge who entered the order, the Prosecuting Attorney, or the County
Judge (who, in most counties, is the Chief County Official and in
essence the County Clerk?s ?boss?. Mary should explain politely but
firmly to these ?elected officials? that her right to travel freely
has been infringed upon (it doesn?t matter that she is a green card
holder) because of some technical oversight and it is repeatedly
causing her to be unlawfully detained. I?m sure this will approach (if
necessary) will get some needed attention - If you get my meaning.

If this does not get satisfaction, Mary should consult an attorney,
who in turns can draft a letter to the court explaining the
potentially severe legal ramifications of such an oversight and demand
that the parties responsible correct the misinformation immediately.
If necessary he can threaten to file a lawsuit (but my guess is that a
cleverly worded letter on his firm?s letterhead will likely do the
trick since government entities and officials hate being sued).

So, in answer to your question, basically Mary needs to insist that
the record be corrected by the authorities responsible for that
record. If it requires an attorney then so be it, but she may get the
same results ?on her own? (for lack of a better term). Tell her to
make sure she is polite but firm and to insist on having some type of
confirmation that what she requested was actually done.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;

Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Information provided was based on 25 years of law enforcement
experience and specifically by virtue of direct experience in the
particular field in question.

Request for Answer Clarification by madurai-ga on 25 Sep 2006 13:41 PDT
Thanks for the response. I think it is an approach which she took.
But the court has been unable to correct it for her.
Mary already did get a a certified copy from the court that the order
was vacated. She has that in her poseession.

She also went to her local police station who told her which police
station originated the record. Can she now go to the originating
police station and get he record deleted even though it is 2 years
after it was enetered.

Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 25 Sep 2006 18:14 PDT
Well, most restraining orders are not permanent and they usually have
an expiration date or some other limitation that makes them valid only
for a specified period of time. Since that period is usually 6 months
to a year in most cases, the fact that this is still on her record
after two years is concerning in itself. In other words, the fact that
it's been two years doesn't mean it'll be harder for Mary to correct
the problem, it means the problem probably should have been corrected
by the entering agency (without her involvement) MONTHS ago.

If I were her I'd consult an attorney who offers a free consultation.
She desn't have to pay him unless she hires him to help her, but I
suspect he'll be relatively suprised at how long this record has gone
neglected and he'll be able to help in exchange for a reasonable fee.
The solution will likley take a stern letter to the proper authorities
or perhaps even to the court.


Request for Answer Clarification by madurai-ga on 26 Sep 2006 13:12 PDT
Thanks for that answer.
As you can imagine, Mary wants to do it without spending $ on attorney
if she can. She was able to go to the local police station and get a
printout of the NCIC record as well as the ORI 9-character code. This
in fact originates in the MA State Police headquarters. She has been
trying to contact many people in law enforcement and is being sent on
a wild goose chase.
The court said that the fact that her record was vacated was already
entered into the system. They refererd her to the probation officer. 
etc etc...

So it is not clear which is the most effective point of attack. 
What do you suggest?

Also, this order was issued by a judge at her spouse's request and was
vacated even before she was due in court for a hearing in 10 days
after the order.
She a formal RO was not issue, but this was a emergency prevention order only.
So is record part of her  criminal record or is it civil?

If she is able to close it out some how will she still be stopped at immigration?


Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 26 Sep 2006 14:41 PDT
If she is unable to get a satisfactory response from the entering
agency, it may become NECESSARY to enlist the aid of an attorney, even
if it costs a little bit. As I said, a letter from an attroney
probably wouldn't cost much and at the very least the authrities would
respond in writing and Mary would have THAT as proof the restraining
order was vacated.

It's also possible that the "officer" reading the printout (yes, on
both occassions) may not have read it correctly. As you say, he didn't
seem to know much about the issue to begin with.

As for the issue being on her record, well, that's another issue
entirely and outside the scope of your original question. I'm sure an
attorney could best answer it for you depanding on the laws of the
state and how they might apply to a green card holder. Before I went
any further I'd have an attorney verify that the order is incorrectly
still active - it may not be and this may all simply be a mistake on
the officers' part. Then I'd seek to have some kind of written
response from someone that the matter has been corrected. Like it or
not, this may involve an attorney.

Best of luck. I look forward to your rating and your closing comments.

madurai-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

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