TMJ4 News and our parent company E.W. Scripps are launching a new corporate wide initiative for second chances. We are allowing the subjects of stories on our website to petition to have them removed or changed if certain criteria is met.
It’s called“Moving Forward”and dozens of stations across the country in our company are launching this initiative. In the legal arena someone would go through the expungement process, this is a way to remove any potential news stories tied to their name.
TMJ4 News talked with two women working their way through the expungement process in the court system. They tell us wiping the digital record of a crime can be just as important as those filed with the court system.
Shanyeill McCloud and Violet Golden are both going through the legal process of having their record expunged. 16 years ago Shanyeill says she was in an abusive relationship, and her only way to survive was to fight. “Me fighting back caned me incarcerated for the first time and only time in my whole life” said McCloud. She was charged with misdemeanor battery and plead guilty.
In 2011 Violet Golden plead guilty to 2 of 3 charges against her. She says it was a mistake to fill a prescription for a friend using her personal Badger Care account. She says “I was picked up by the police for fraud, possession of a controlled substance, and intent to sell this controlled substance.” Her charges were categorized as felonies.
Since these two women were charged and convicted years ago, they have had nothing more than a vehicle violation on their record. But both say their past is holding them back. “Even thought it was a misdemeanor I was treated like a felon. Any job you apply to, you get stopped right at the door” McCloud says.
Both agree that having your digital record scubbed is just as important as having your court records expunged. “Because we’re in a digital age where any opportunities that come up, people search search search” McCloud said.
That’s where TMJ4 News’ Moving Forward comes in. Our station is now welcoming appeals form people to have certain stories removed or edited.
The station will consider removing stories similar to these:
- Nonviolent misdemeanor crimes, particularly those from many years ago.
- Missing persons, Amber Alert, and Silver Alert cases that are resolved without criminal charges.
- Stories and Photos that involve embarrassing, noncriminal behavior.
The station will NOT consider removing these stories.
- Serious felonies particularly those involving violent crimes, including sexual assault.
- Public Figures and those in positions of trust who are held to a higher standard of scrutiny and therefore, stories involving these individuals will be evaluated accordingly.
The hope behind this program is to remove barriers for those who may have changed their life since making a mistake long ago. The decision on whether to remove articles will be taken up by our station’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. The decisions will be made monthly, and those who petition for story removal or change will be asked for documentation.
Shanyeill McCloud has turned helping others get their record expunged into a business and non profit. She runs Clean Slate MKE, and Second Chances MKE. Organizations that help those who want to get their criminal records expunged deal with all the legal paperwork involved.