Samuel Edmunds’ client had been acquitted of or had dismissed criminal charges resulting from a sudden onset of mental illness.
But Edmunds’ client, who has an advanced degree in his field, couldn’t pursue his career because the charges still appeared in public records.
The matter could have ended when the District Court denied Edmunds’ expungement motion.
Edmunds, however, a certified criminal law specialist who has developed an expertise in criminal expungement, handles five to 10 pro bono expungement cases a year.
With a strong feeling that his motion should have prevailed in District Court and belief he had a deserving client, Edmunds took the extraordinary step of appealing the case pro bono to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
“I spent more time on this case than any other pro bono case,” Edmunds, a criminal defense and personal injury attorney at Sieben Edmunds in Mendota Heights, said.
The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s decision and remanded the case. After a second hearing, the trial judge expunged the client’s record.
“When I can represent people and make their life better through my work, that’s the best stuff I can do,” Edmunds said.
Edmunds has handled pro bono expungement cases through the Volunteer Lawyers Network since beginning his career as a criminal prosecutor.
Active in professional associations, Edmunds serves in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and the Minnesota State Bar Association Council, the state bar’s board.
Edmunds has a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and master’s in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato.