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Plumley v. State

Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, Division IV

April 7, 2017

MICHAEL PLUMLEY, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA, Defendant/Appellant.

          Mandate Issued: 05/11/2017

         APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA HONORABLE BRYAN C. DIXON, TRIAL JUDGE

          John Hunsucker, Douglas J. Baxter, Richard D. Laquer, HUNSUCKER LEGAL GROUP, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff/Appellee

          Leann C. Paczkowski, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Defendant/Appellant State of Oklahoma

          John Justin Wolf, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, OKLAHOMA STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

          DEBORAH B. BARNES, PRESIDING JUDGE

         ¶1 Defendant/Appellant State of Oklahoma (State) appeals from the trial court's Order granting the petition to seal and expunge records of Plaintiff/Appellee (Petitioner). [1] The statute at issue in this case - 22 O.S. § 18 - is remedial or procedural in nature, applies retroactively, and has been amended (in 2016) in a manner that requires we affirm the granting of the petition by the trial court.

         ¶2 The facts of this case are not in dispute. As set forth in the trial court's Order, Petitioner was arrested by the Oklahoma City Police Department on July 12, 2012, and charged with a "Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence (DUI)...." In December 2012, Petitioner entered a no contest plea to this charge, and he was "placed on a 6-month-continued sentence and successfully completed this probationary period on June 6, 2013."

         ¶3 Petitioner was also charged under a separate case number "with speeding 1-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit...." However, the parties agree the misdemeanor DUI charge and the speeding violation both arose from the same incident which resulted in Petitioner's arrest on July 12. [2] In the case involving the speeding charge, Petitioner also pled no contest and, as a penalty, he paid a fine in the amount of $232 for speeding.

         ¶4 In July 2015, Petitioner filed his petition to expunge "the record of arrest and all matters and Information relating" thereto. State objected to the petition. [3] In its brief in support of its objection, State asserted that because Petitioner had received not one but two misdemeanor convictions - i.e., the DUI and speeding convictions - "he does not qualify for relief under 22 O.S. § 18 (A)(8)."

         ¶5 Title 22 O.S. § 18 authorizes one to petition to expunge criminal records under various circumstances. State asserted below that § 18 "establishes that a petitioner must meet one of twelve different qualifications before being entitled to petition the court for an expungement of criminal records[.]" State then quoted the version of § 18 in effect between November 1, 2014, and November 1, 2016. In particular, State quoted the following from § 18, adding its own emphasis:

8. The person was charged with a misdemeanor, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and at least one (1) year has passed since the charge was dismissed[.]

         ¶6 Indeed, because Petitioner filed his petition in July 2015, this is the version of the statute under which he sought expungement. However, we conclude State's argument is rendered moot because, in 2016, the Legislature removed the word "misdemeanor" from the above-quoted, and emphasized, portion of the statute, and we conclude the current version of this procedural or remedial statute applies to this case.

         ¶7 The question presented on appeal is one of law, which we review de novo. Holder v. State, 2009 OK CIV APP 1, ¶ 4, 219 P.3d 562. Section 18, ...


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