Finding the End of a Sentence

 

With apologies to some of my earlier English teachers, I now admit that I got through most of middle school without being able to identify the end of sentence.  As a result, I often saw the dreaded notation "RUN ON" written in red ink on my papers.  Although I finally got the hang of it, I am reminded of my earlier troubles now in the context of the criminal background check amendments which rely on the end of a person's sentence.

Through those amendments, people with certain specific convictions can never work in a school.  However, people with other serious convictions can work there, but only after waiting a certain amount of time AFTER THE PERSON'S SENTENCE ENDS.

Here's the problem: the information presented to the administration (the rap sheet, or "criminal history record information report" from the FBI and state police) generally only relates when the sentence starts and usually tells how long it is supposed to be.  It does not tell if the period under supervision has been extended for any reason.  This makes figuring out when the person is eligible for employment in a school very difficult.

I ran into this situation just the other day.  A person submitted a rap sheet showing an offense that occurred over 20 years ago with an arrest and conviction almost 15 years ago.  This offense was one where the person could be eligible after waiting for a while.  The sentence imposed should have ended in plenty of time for the person to be hired now.  However, I checked the docket information and found that the sentence was reimposed on several occassions (probation violation?), the most recent being too recent to be hired.

The situation just proves that when reviewing criminal history, relying on the rap sheet may not be enough to ensure compliance with the amendments to §1-111.  Many states have online resources to give case information.  Pennsylvania is one of them.  I recommend school officials use it or ask counsel to do so for them.

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