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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 13-51136
HON. TERRENCE G. BERG
In re MONICA HAMILTON,
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR EXPUNGEMENT
Before the Court is a request to have a federal criminal conviction expunged.
On July 26, 2013, the Clerk of the Court received a letter from Monica Hamilton,
addressed to United States District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith (Dkt. 1). The Clerk of
the Court interpreted Hamilton’s letter as a request for relief, assigned it a case
number, and randomly assigned it to this Court.
According to the request, Monica Hamilton was convicted in 1992, by guilty
plea, of being in possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.1
Hamilton states that her Probation Officer told her that her criminal record would
be “sealed/expunged.” Consequently, Hamilton contends, she believed that her
conviction had been expunged. In April 2013, Hamilton applied for a Concealed
Pistol License (“CPL”) from the state of Michigan.2 In June 2013 Hamilton received
1 Although the letter does not provide specific details regarding the nature of Hamilton’s conviction,
the knowing possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. §
2 Given the possibility that Hamilton may have purchased or obtained a firearm prior to applying for
a CPL, the Court notes that federal law makes it illegal for a person who has previously been
convicted of a felony to possess a firearm, if that firearm was manufactured outside the State of
Michigan. There are no firearms manufacturers located in Michigan. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (“It
shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce,
or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or
ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”)
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notice that her CPL application was denied because of her prior felony conviction.
Hamilton now asks this Court to expunge or seal her record, so that she may have
her civil rights restored.3
Although the Court appreciates Ms. Hamilton’s well-meaning goal of seeking
to have her civil rights restored so that she may lawfully possess a firearm and
obtain a CPL, this Court has no power to expunge her conviction or restore her civil
rights. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals has previously found, in light of Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375 (1994), that after a final judgment, unless there is a
specific, statutory grant of authority, the federal courts do not have jurisdiction to
entertain motions for expungement. See United States v. Lucido, 612 F.3d 871,
873-77 (6th Cir. 2010). Here, Hamilton does not appear to be disputing that her
conviction is final. Likewise, although a few statutes permit expungement motions,
none of them apply to Hamilton’s case. See 18 U.S.C. § 3607(c), 21 U.S.C. § 844a(j)
(authorizing expungement for convictions of certain violations of the Controlled
Substances Act); 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g) (authorizing expungement to correct inaccurate
government records); 42 U.S.C. § 14132(d), 10 U.S.C. § 1565(e) (authorizing
expungement of DNA records); see also United States v. Carey, 602 F.3d 738, 740
3 It is possible that certain civil rights may have already been restored to Hamilton by operation of
state law. See Rights & Privileges Lost Upon a Felony Conviction, UNITED STATES PROBATION
OFFICE -- EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN,
http://www.miep.uscourts.gov/pages/supervision/rights_restoration.cfm (last visited July 26, 2013).
However, certain other rights, including the rights provided by the Second Amendment, may only be
restored by a Presidential pardon. See Frequency Asked Questions Concerning Executive Clemency,
THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, http://www.justice.gov/pardon/faq.htm#2 (last visited
July 26, 2013).
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(6th Cir. 2010) (holding Federal Gun Control Act does not authorize expungement
remedy), reh’g denied (May 17, 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 322 (U.S. 2010).
In this case, the Sixth Circuit’s holding in Lucido controls: this Court has no
authority to entertain a request for expungement.
Therefore, Hamilton’s Motion for Expungement (Dkt. 1) must be DENIED
for want of jurisdiction, and the case DISMISSED.
I hereby certify that this Order was electronically submitted on July 30,
2013, using the CM/ECF system; a copy of this Order was also mailed to Monica
Hamilton at 17372 Michigan Hts. Dr., Brownstown, Michigan, 48174.
Dated: July 30, 2013
s/Terrence G. Berg
TERRENCE G. BERG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Certificate of Service