A Pennsylvania man has lost a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in which he sought to have the state erase his arrest record. He claimed that the arrest never resulted in a conviction because he was found “not guilty by reason of insanity,” and that the arrest record was keeping him from getting a job at the U.S. Postal Service.
What crime was involved? According to the lawsuit, Brice Cyrankowski was arrested after a bizarre incident in 1989. When police arrived at his home, they found him in torn clothing, clutching a Bible and claiming, “I am the Lord and Savior.” He then attacked an officer, started banging his head against a wall and drank from the toilet bowl.
The court refused his request, concluding that a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity doesn’t mean that he never committed the act—just that he wasn’t responsible because he was insane at the time.
Final note: If you obtain an applicant’s criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police, the law limits your use of that information. The state Criminal History Information Act says you can use misdemeanor and felony convictions when making a hiring decision if the conviction relates to the applicant’s suitability for the position. For more information, go to http://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp.
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