Criminal Records Should Be Open

In many cases, criminals making sincere attempts to turn their lives around deserve second chances. But that should not extend to pulling the wool over potential employers’ eyes.

On Monday, Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. denied a motion by David Workman to seal his criminal record. Had the motion been granted, Workman’s record would have been available only to law enforcement agencies, not to background check services that sometimes are asked by companies for information about job applicants.

Judges sometimes grant such motions, especially when juveniles or young adults guilty of minor offenses are involved.

But Workman, 57, is different. In 2008, while working as an investigator at the Jefferson County Coroner’s office, he stole a credit card from the body of an accident victim. He then used it to run up a $430 bill at a bar.

Workman was caught and served nine months in prison. Now, he says it is difficult for him to find a job.

That’s too bad – but potential employers deserve to know the risks they take in hiring people like Workman. Bruzzese was right in his ruling, and other judges should emulate him in similar cases.