Job Applicants Forced to Seek Pardons for Misdemeanors

"We're getting so any more misdemeanors now just because employers are going beyond the felony," said Sonya Fauver, Nebraska Board of Pardons administrative assistant. "What may have been not an issue five, 10 years ago on a criminal history record is now becoming an issue."

And it's not one welcomed by the Nebraska Pardons Board: the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general.

"It's a complete waste of time," said Attorney General Jon Bruning. "I have no interest in looking at people who have a park sticker violation. I would guess that my colleagues don't either. I have more important things to do."

Even so, the requests keep coming. Shirley Hartley, a pardon unit administrative assistant with the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, said she has been seeing about one-third of applicants seek pardons for misdemeanor offenses. And many of them are listing employment as the reason.

To any federal unit handling such requests, they cost not only time, but also taxpayer money that pays for the entities' operation.

"I do believe that employers need to take a bit more time and look at the crime," said Fauver, "Was it the one and only? Was it a minor situation? Instead of just automatically throwing them in the 'no' pile."

In the meantime, the boards are adjusting. Bruning said that if the influx of minor crime pardon requests continues, Nebraska may introduce a separate procedure for them.

At the recent hearing on Nov. 6, to which Schroeder drove 500 miles to attend, 11 low-level offenses including hers were pardoned with a single vote -- and with no testimony. Schroeder said she can't wait to officially have a clean record.

"It's embarrassing," she said. "It's old news."

ABCNews.com contributor Alina Selyukh is a member of the ABC News on Campus program at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

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