In 2014, we received an unprecedented number of calls from people who were arrested in Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut for domestic violence, DUI / DWI, or Disorderly Conduct…who did everything the court asked them to…and had their cases dismissed and erased by operation of Connecticut law. Yet their online arrest reports continued to be published on the Internet–specifically on various online police blotters…causing them devastating damage to their reputation and employment prospects.
And they all asked the same question…can we help them?
The answer is an unequivocal YES. If you have had your Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich or Darien criminal case dismissed and are trying to remove your Wilton, Darien or Greenwich arrest report from the internet and online police blotters, then you should call an internet scrubbing lawyer at the Mark Sherman Law Firm for a consultation. We will aggressively go after all of the online news outlets that continue to publish your erased arrest, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and any other search engine website that publishes digital footprints of the defamatory and libelous online arrest news articles.
We are leaders in the State of Connecticut on this issue and have been successfully removing online arrest reports from online news websites since 2010. Our firm has been recognized by leading academic, libel and free speech journals for presenting the most effective and comprehensive challenge to the online news companies who continue to profit on your old and dismissed arrest by running new online advertisements on their police blotter pages. It is no secret that the online police blotter pages are the most frequently visited pages on these websites. These companies should not be able to continue to commercially profit off of old arrest stories that are no longer true—especially when your arrest records are destroyed and you are no longer even deemed to have been arrested under Connecticut law.
In 2012, when no one was talking about this issue, the Mark Sherman Law Firm, led by the Firm’s lead trial advocate Ryan A. O’Neill, and with the assistance of our close colleague and friend Stephan Seeger, Esq., filed the landmark proposed class action lawsuit Martin v. Hearst in Connecticut Superior Court. Lorraine Martin, a single mother and professional nurse, sued the Hearst Company, Cablevision News 12, and other media organizations to remove false and libelous online reports of an alleged 2010 arrest. Under Connecticut law, Martin availed herself of Connecticut’s Erasure Statute CGS 54-142a. This statute deems anyone who had a case dismissed by the Superior Court to “never have been arrested” and can “swear so under oath.” Critics argue it’s a legal fiction and that media outlets should not be forced to rewrite history. But Connecticut lawmakers were crystal clear with this language of this statute—that you are able to swear under oath that you have never been arrested once your case is erased—an unequivocal indicator of what’s true and what’s false. And if media outlets are going to continue to publish your old arrest online, then it’s our view that they should be sued for defamation.
The legal battle that Attorneys O’Neill and Sherman have waged against one of the country’s biggest publishing companies—the Hearst Company—has been challenging. After suffering a loss at the trial court level, we have appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals—the highest federal court in the Second Circuit—where Attorney O’Neill presented compelling legal and equitable arguments as to why the continued publication by online news outlets is illegal and defamatory. While we await judgment, we continue to see top Connecticut libel lawyers and top Connecticut and United States defamation lawyers, professors, and commentators sound off on just how important a case this is for United States defamation and libel law. We are prepared to take this issue to the United States Supreme Court. Former New York Times editor-in-chief William Keller recently presented a thoughtful summary of our case and its implications in New York Times op-ed piece.
We also often get the question of what’s more effective—the Mark Sherman Law Firm’s internet scrubbing service or a search engine optimizer service like Reputation.com that buries negative and unfavorable web articles deep down the list in search engine results of your name. Each has its advantages, but we would argue that removing the defamatory and libelous content from the internet altogether is best option. Once the content is removed or, at the very least, the search tags from the arrest report are removed from content at issue, we can then start escalating the issue with search engines. The online arrest report removal team at Mark Sherman Law not only goes after the negative content, but we also try to clean and scrub all the search engines free and clear of any remnants of the defamatory arrest report content.
So if your Connecticut case was dismissed through the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program, Alcohol Education Program, or any other Connecticut diversionary program, and you need to remove your Connecticut DUI / DWI, domestic violence, or disorderly conduct arrest from the internet, you should contact an internet scrubbing lawyer at the Mark Sherman Law firm. We are one of the leading and most experienced firms in the State of Connecticut on this sensitive issue. Our libel and defamation lawyers are ready to help you begin protecting your reputation today. Call us for a consultation at (203) 358-4700.