Megan Dunn


The events of September 11, 2001, radically altered many facets of American life. One dramatic change was the establishment of the Federal Department of Homeland Security, created to regulate and oversee various aspects of the federal government in an effort to promote safety and prevent terrorism. As part of this mission, the Department of Homeland Security now manages the investigations that determine eligibility for security clearances necessary for many federal government jobs. As a result of this process, Scott Dyer was denied renewal of the security clearance necessary for his employment as a building engineer at a federal courthouse in Denver, Colorado. This denial was based on Dyer's criminal record of forgery and theft from an incident that occurred in Missouri in 1990. When Dyer petitioned a Missouri court for expungement of his criminal record, the Missouri Supreme Court denied Dyer's petition and upheld the constitutionality of a statute that limits judicial authority to expunge criminal records to situations involving a list of specific elements. Although the court's decision produced the seemingly harsh result of denying Dyer a specific avenue for regaining his federal employment, it was ultimately consistent with precedent, constitutional law, and the policies underlying both the expungement of criminal records and the relationship between the federal and state governments.

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