A Cook County judge has scolded the Illinois State Police for routinely disobeying his orders to expunge criminal records and warned that he plans to find the agency in criminal contempt of court, reports the Chicago Tribune. Judge Ronald Riley said he will do whatever it takes to put an end to the problem he has witnessed during his seven years presiding over the 6th Municipal District. He called state police an “arrogant organization” that usurped his power by deciding not to expunge records as ordered by the court.
He wants state police to review past cases in his district and quit overriding his decisions without arguing the issues before him. The decision was a victory for the Legal Assistance Foundation, which has fought other cases where state police failed to expunge records. The practice often prevents people who are arrested or convicted from finding jobs, said Christopher Wilmes, a lawyer for the group. The group brought attention to the problem through the case of a woman who applied in March to expunge from her record a 2006 charge that had been dismissed. It was granted by the court, but state police sent her a letter incorrectly stating it could not be expunged.