Update on the Olall Thing
Here is a comment we received from Michael V. Gazza regarding our most recent article:
I’m an attorney representing Joe O’Lall. Please be advised that Mr. O’Lall’s record was EXPUNGED pertaining to the events of 2010.
The expungement means that the arrest, charges, and results of this matter cannot legally be held against Mr. O’Lall.
As an internet publication, you can be held liable for printing about his arrest or charges because you failed to also publish that the case was dismissed and expunged.
I am no legal scholar, but a quick internet search shows that expungement is the process by which a person’s criminal record has been sealed and removed from the public record. It means that the person can claim that they were never convicted of that crime when applying for a job. It means he or she can pass most background checks. However, it does not mean that the Men In Black have shown up with their “blinky thingie” and erased all memory of said actions. We are free to remember.
Now here at Emerald Lakes Free Press we are always happy to publish the other side of a story, and we are glad to set the record straight. So, it may be true that Mr. Olall’s record was expunged, and you may make of that information what you will, but now I would like to tell you why I think that this may not be the best approach for getting that information out.
First, while it may be true that Mr. Olall and the courts managed to come to an agreement that they will erase any mention of this episode in their records, we made no such agreement. I can “hold this matter” against Mr. Olall in the same way I hold it against anyone who I feel has wronged me, no matter the legal outcome of a situation. I will use what I know to determine and color my future dealings with this person in any way I see fit. I do not need a criminal conviction to know that Mr. Olall is not someone that I want to deal with in any capacity, based on these and many other actions of his over the years I have known him.
Second, as for the claim that I can be held liable for reporting on what was said in an open board meeting, I don’t see how. It’s true that I wrote the word “arrest” in the original article, and the Board asked me to correct that, which I did, but not having the benefit of a recording device, I wrote as fast as my little fingers could go to capture the important details of what happened at the meeting and I substituted a word. Of course, his arrest did happen, and was reported in the newspapers at the time, so I was not making up something that never happened The article itself was straight reporting of an event. It contained no opinion or commentary on Mr. Olall’s character or history. I simply reported the Board’s statement, and if Mr. Olall has a problem with what they said, he needs to take that up with them, not shoot the messenger.
Third, although there may be an expungement of the records of the events, I cannot understand why a good lawyer would recommend that his or her client bring this matter to the attention of the community yet again. I would think that it might be better to let the whole sad affair fade from memory. But I am not a lawyer, so what do I know?
So, with that in mind, dear reader, here it is – Mr. Olall’s record with the state of Pennsylvania has apparently been expunged. You may continue with your day.