The California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) is the largest private investigator association in the world. Many of our members specialize in criminal defense investigations, and we of course believe in giving people second chances. Unfortunately, SB 731 was not the way to accomplish this.
Presently, investigators are prohibited from reporting convictions older than seven years in pre-employment background matters. We at CALI offered the same conditions, even lowering the time frame to four years for other investigations including pre-housing inquiries. This compromise would have accomplished the exact same result without sealing records that have historically been public. Now, with the signing of SB 731 into law, these records are no longer public, yet still accessible to government agencies such as prosecutors and law enforcement. In other words, the government has access to information the public no longer has. That is of great concern to us at CALI, as it should be to all.
CALI is also concerned that the sealing of critical public record information will lead to preventable situations where an employer hires an individual who harms an employee or customer and may be detrimental to the efforts of individuals and organizations to prevent domestic violence among many other public safety matters.
There are 58 counties in California, and 58 separate Superior Courts. We are concerned that this is going to create a nightmare for those court clerks as they struggle to try and determine which files should be sealed with the numerous exceptions and other requirements.
Again, CALI completely supports second chances. SB 731 was simply not the way to accomplish this goal.
Frank W. Huntington, III