Criminal Background Checks and Civil Liberties, with Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

Retired Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman of Santa Clara, California supports the reasonableness with respect to criminal background checks. However, his concern over the years is that there doesn't seem to be much redemption with respect to the fact that a person may have made a mistake years ago and has since gotten their life back on track.

Richmond, California, is just one example of a municipality that has a "ban the box" statute. The next step, says Hyman, is that if you have business license in a city with a "ban the box," you can't do background checks or check records against people.

Hyman says background checks depend on the industry or job and how it pertains to the background record and how long ago it was. There are certain exceptions to background checks, such as when the job has to do with security clearance or law enforcement, notes Hyman, as those records will never go away in those instances.

Hyman believes it will be a while before this evolves to criminal liability, as right now this has to do with civil liabilities. As only cities and counties have the "ban the box," Hyman says this is the direction in which we need to move.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.

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