December 31, 2002
Taxpayers to bear cost: Film at 11

A two-Claude headline in the Chron today: Taxpayers may feel brunt of Kmart sting. Who'd have ever thought of that?

Actually, we're not even talking about potential lawsuit costs, but the costs of cleaning up all the arrest records:

City Council will consider a contract today to hire the law firm of Winstead, Sechrest & Minick to help expunge the arrests from the records of nearly 300 people arrested during an ill-fated August sting on drag racing.

Charges already have been dropped against those arrested, but the arrests remain on their police records. Because the city's legal department will represent the city in several lawsuits stemming from the arrests, it cannot represent those arrested in getting their records expunged.

As a result, the city will consider hiring outside counsel.

"We are trying to rectify a wrong," said Robert Cambrice, a senior assistant city attorney. "We are trying to help out people who are trying to get into school or apply for jobs and are denied that opportunity because they have an arrest record."

Cambrice said that, if the contract is approved, those arrested will be notified of the service by mail. If the city's offer is accepted, arrest records will be expunged at a cost to the city of $484 each.

$484 each? I admit to not knowing much about the procedure here, but that sure sounds like a lot to me. Why is this so hard?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 31, 2002 to K-Mart Kiddie Roundup | TrackBack

I'm wondering how many hours it takes to prepare and file the paperwork to expunge a record and how much of that time is attorney time vs. paralegal time.

Cookie-cutter cases where a paralegal can do the bulk of the work but the client is effectively charged for attorney time on a flat fee are profit centers for a law firm. The firm is gambling that no single case will require enough attorney attention to eat up the profits on the other cases. Seems like a pretty good gamble in this instance.

Posted by: Ginger on December 31, 2002 4:36 PM