BYU Law School students develop web resources to solve the flaws in the deletion process


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The eight students of the LawX Legal Design Lab are located in BYU method Developed an online resource called Goodbye record, Aims to solve the flaws in the criminal record deletion process in Utah and other potential states.

I wrote repeatedly About LawX, a laboratory program Launched in 2017 Law students use design thinking to analyze and solve the key issues of access to justice. In the laboratory of each semester, students have to solve a different problem.

Previous LawX projects have led to development Solo suit, To help consumers deal with debt collection litigation, and to A private company, with Hello landlord, Designed to help tenants communicate more effectively with landlords on issues that may lead to eviction.

In an interview yesterday Marie Kulbeth, Is one of the three part-time professors leading the laboratory this semester, and Tanner Schenewark, A graduate who participated in the program in 2021 (now will join the New York office of Clifford Chance), he told me that they chose deletion as the subject this year, partly because of BYU Law’s past experience in providing free deletion clinics.

Students initially plan to develop an application to help individuals apply for deletion. However, when they investigated the problem in the design thinking process, they found that the bigger problem is that the delete operation usually does not bring the new starting point provided by its design.

They found that flaws in the system and outdated online information often make it difficult to completely erase the criminal’s history even after being arrested, causing online remnants to appear in background checks and often preventing individuals from obtaining housing or employment opportunities.

Electronic Toolkit

In light of these findings, the students abandoned the idea of ​​an app and instead created an online resource for three main constituencies that can play a role in helping to ensure a second chance for people who have deleted their records: employers, Individuals and governments.

Schenewark said: “The idea is actually to provide an electronic toolkit for solving this problem.”

The employer part (referred to as the partner part by Goodbye Record) is aimed at employers and invites them to take a “fair commitment” to implement and support a series of measures to help reduce false positives, so that qualified personnel can enjoy a fair view when they are employed. Promising companies can display their company logo on the Goodbye Record website to let potential employees know that they support individuals seeking a new starting point.

A separate section introduces people how to deal with the obstacles after layoffs, including how to report violations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and how to communicate with the layoff information exchange center to help the background check company remove the layoffs. Staff. Records in commercial databases.

Currently in Utah, petitioners are personally responsible for contacting all different agencies to ensure their records are deleted. This cannot be done electronically and often requires individuals to spend some time to work or find a job.

Government departments are responsible for addressing potential legislative and administrative solutions, including the way states and courts can improve the final removal steps, restrict access points and require commercial data subscribers to update their databases.

Processing downstream data

One solution developed by students to address the government component is to improve the contract language between the government and data subscribers. The student discovered that courts and government agencies had contracts with public records companies to provide criminal data on a regular basis, and these companies often resell their data to further locations. However, after the deletion is approved, the company will not always update its data, so criminal records will still appear in online databases and criminal record checks.

The students developed the contract language for the government to use with these companies to accomplish two things. First, it requires the company to regularly update its database to reflect the ever-decreasing situation. Second, it provides audit procedures to ensure company compliance.

The students also urged states to pass legislation that would shift the burden of distributing removal orders from those authorized to remove them to the institutions that maintain these records.

Plan to go nationwide

Earlier this month, LawX students presented their findings to the Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Court Administration Office. Therefore, the administrative office has promised to amend its “Compilation Data Dissemination Agreement” to include students’ language.

It is also considering supporting the legislation, which will shift the burden of distributing deportation orders from individual petitioners to the Utah Criminal Identification Bureau, which will be authorized to electronically request other state agencies to delete deported information from their records .

Although the focus of the students’ work so far has been focused on Utah, they have designed “Goodbye Records” as a national resource and plan to bring it to other states after the lobbying work has begun.

In addition to Courbes, who is also the chief operating officer and general counsel of SixFifty, the laboratory is also led by an adjunct professor Eric Vogler, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of Genesis Block, and Justin WhittakerThe head of Invisible Co., he shared his expertise in product and business development and design ideas.

The laboratory also consulted with Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos “Deno” Himonas, who is known nationwide for his role in developing Utah’s regulatory sandbox.​​

Himonas said in a statement provided by LawX: “I am very excited about this project.” “This is a powerful example of design thinking and application. LawX did not try to repeat other work, but researched the space and tried to understand the real What is the kill point to create some truly innovative removal methods.”

Justice and mercy

Given that Schnewark is now preparing to leave and start working as a partner in Clifford Chance’s trading team, I asked him if he thinks LawX’s work on criminal justice issues will help him in his future career.

It turns out that this is his summer assistant position at Clifford Chance, a company known for innovation, where he has the opportunity to work with legal automation startups Joseph, Which aroused his appetite for legal technology and prompted him to sign up for LawX.

He said that during the design thinking process in LawX, he showed him complex legal issues and how many moving parts must be managed to solve these problems.

He said: “When you can come up with an elegant and effective solution, I think that is a huge result.” “I hope I can continue to move forward in my career.”

Courbes pointed out other things the students learned. She said that BYU Law not only instills a sense of justice in students, but also instills compassion, and deletion is an aspect of the criminal justice system that is truly implicit in compassion.

The person sentenced to death has completed his time, completed any probation, paid the fine, and now hopes to have the opportunity to live his own life and become a part of the community.

“For me, this is the meaning behind the project,” Courbes said. “We cannot have a complete judicial system. We know we don’t. Therefore, we must have a way to incorporate mercy into the system.”


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