Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Massachusetts CORI changes

What exactly is a CORI?  How does the Massachusetts CORI statute affect you?  What sort of changes are coming down the pike concerning the Massachusetts CORI statute?  And how can The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III help seal your record?

What exactly is a CORI?

The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III, located at 48 Central St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944, specializes in Criminal Defense Law.  When you think of a Criminal Defense Attorney, images of Perry Mason or Jack McCoy of Law & Order come to mind - courtroom scenes of judges pounding gavels, juries pondering evidence, and the gripping opening and closing arguments.  But what happens when it is all over? 

Your "permanent record", which in the criminal justice system is called the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system, is marked.  You now have a criminal history.  It does not matter whether you were found guilty, not guilty, innocent, the charges dropped, or whatever other outcome may be entered - your record is permanently marked with that information.

 How does the Massachusetts CORI statute affect you?

Your conviction or other disposition is entered into the Commonwealth's computer database, and a digital record now exists of your conviction. And so the question now is, how does that affect me in my everyday life?  Who can access that information and use it against me?  The answer is almost anyone, and it can potentially adversely affect you in every aspect of your life - employment, home rental or purchase, car lease/purchase, credit card or loan applications, and even the ability to go to college or graduate school for certain degrees.  Here is the short list of who can currently ask the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to look at YOUR CORI:

  • All criminal justice agencies
  •  Organizations that work with the elderly, disabled, or children
  •  nursing homes, schools, camps, hospitals, preschools, and government agencies serving these populations
  • Volunteers who will have direct unsupervised contact with clients
  • Adoptive and foster parents
  • Parents can request CORI reports for child care providers
  • Elderly and/or disabled people can request CORI reports for caregivers who will provide services in their home.
  • Housing agencies
  • A crime victim or witness can get permission from the DCJIS to see the CORI of the perpetrator.
And here are the two kickers:
  • Anyone can request a CORI report of a person who is in prison or was recently released from prison
  • Any other person or organization can apply for special permission to see a CORI report 
That's right friends and neighbors - anyone at all can apply to view your CORI, so long as they have a compelling reason to do so, or at least tell the State that they do.  And, as the law stands presently, the following are all permissable uses of your CORI against you:
  • Housing agencies can disqualify you from renting
  • Landlords may refuse to rent to you
  • Potential employers can question you about your criminal history
  • Employers can refuse to hire you
  • Your own child's school may prohibit you from volunteering at your child's school, with school sporting events, or any other work which puts you in contact with children
  • You may be denied the opportunity to be a foster or adoptive parent
  • Colleges and Universities can prohibit you from doing clinical work if there is contact with children, the elderly, or disabled involved at any stage
What sort of changes are coming down the pike concerning the Massachusetts CORI statute?

The Massachusetts CORI reform bill was signed into law by the Governor on August 6, 2010.  The good news is that this new reform will make sealing criminal records possible for more people, in more instances, and in less time from the date of the offense.  The bad news is that the process of properly sealing your record will still be an extremely confusing and difficult process.  That is where the legal experience and expertise of Attorney Mike Cupoli of The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III comes in.  It is absolutely essential that you have the assistance of a trained professional to guide you through this process, and do most or all of the work for you.

The types of questions employers may ask you will change, as will their ability to factor the answers to those questions into their hiring determination.  You will gain substantial rights in the employment process, including the right to know if your potential employer has any knowledge of your criminal convictions and/or is using that information in his determination whether or not to hire you. 

Another major change is that presently, one must wait fifteen (15) years to seal a felony and ten (10) years to seal a misdemeanor from the date of the final disposition of the case, including the conclusion of any prison or probation time to be served.  The reform now allows for a ten (10) year waiting period for felony convictions and a five (5) year waiting period for misdemeanor convictions.  The new, shorter waiting periods begin at the time of release from incarceration or the final court date if no jail time is included in the sentence. 

Under the new reform, individuals may through their attorney audit their CORI record.  This audit will reveal who accessed the record and for what purpose.  This new reform will be a powerful tool in employment related anti-discrimination matters!

However, despite the new changes, it should be noted that employers, landlords, professional licensing boards, law enforcement, and many others will still have complete access to your CORI - AND the State is going to put all this information online to make it easier for those wishing to review your CORI record!

And how can The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III help you?

If you have ever been involved in the criminal justice system, then you have a CORI. If you are applying for a job, an apartment, filling out a loan application, or in any other situation where you may have a "background check" done - you need to see Attorney Michael Cupoli first!  I can help you get your record sealed, so that almost no one can view your past indiscretions.  I can help you seal felonies, misdemeanors, and most other types of entries on your CORI report.  This is the best and most effective method of dealing with any past convictions or other entries.

However, if you have not sought out my services, and you run into difficulties with employers or others who continue to ask about your previous criminal convictions AND they deny you employment, housing, loans, or otherwise discriminate against you - you may have a case against them.  Call Attorney Mike Cupoli at 508-776-7591, or come into The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III located at 48 Central Street, Manchester, MA 01944. 

The Law Office of Michael T. Cupoli III
48 48 Central Street
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944


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