Supreme Court Denies Appeal over State Crime Database

FEBRUARY 16, 2007 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Even after being expunged and ordered removed, a man's two arrests years apart continued to live on in a statewide Arkansas criminal database, and he claims someone posted it to the Internet during a political campaign.

But the state Supreme Court says Richard Emmett Jones cannot hold former Governor Mike Huckabee, the Arkansas Crime Information Center, its director or others responsible for leaking the information.

A ruling yesterday written by Associate Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber laid out the facts of the case -- how police arrested Jones in 1980 for running a gambling operation and again in 1995 for terroristic threatening and carrying a weapon. However, both charges were dismissed.

In 2001, municipal courts in Hot Springs and Benton ordered the records of Jones' arrests be sealed. The state's crime center, which provides crime statistics and criminal history information to law-enforcement agencies, received the orders to seal the records. The two courts issued rules to remove the information from the state database. But Jones claims someone with access to the database posted information about his two arrests, violating his right to privacy.

However, Imber wrote that the clean-slate effect of expungement is not absolute.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)