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The Millbrook Independent

May 25th
Expunging records too costly PDF Print E-mail
Written by News Desk   
Thursday, 10 July 2014 08:58

bobmartinBy Bob Martin, Publisher

Like many I approve of the new state law that allows those arrested but not convicted to expunge their record, but not the $300 application fee that goes with it. Sen. Roger Bedford sponsored the law but said he could not explain the high court cost.

I suggest my friend, the good senator from Russellville and, in fact, every legislator who cast a vote for the legislation, should figure out an explanation.

The fees would go to the following funds:

• $75 to the State Judicial Administrative Fund

• $25 to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences

• $50 to the district attorney's office

• $50 to the clerk's office of the circuit court having jurisdiction over the matter

• $50 to the Public Safety Fund

• $50 to the general fund of the arresting law enforcement agency

According to a recent report in The Birmingham News, even if an arrest "had no foundation of probable cause," only the court costs and docket fees are waived; the $300 application fee is unavoidable. However, the local judge is given the authority to authorize a payment plan.

Alabama's fee far exceeds that of other states, according to the News. It costs $40 to expunge an arrest record without a conviction in Utah and $75 in Florida. There is no cost in Maryland, Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana or California. These excessive charges should be revisited by state lawmakers.

A remarkable World War II story

I would like to share the beginning of a true story, published this past July 3 in The New York Times. It is about the life of Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini of Los Angeles who died last week at age 97. The book is titled "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption." It rose to No. 1 on the NYT best-seller list.

Zamperini, an Olympic runner who, as an airman during World War II crashed in the Pacific, was listed as dead and then spent 47 days adrift in a life raft before being captured by the Japanese and enduring a harsh imprisonment.

Zamperini's remarkable story of survival during the war gained new attention in 2010 with the publication of a vivid biography by Laura Hillenbrand, "Unbroken: A world War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption." It rose to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. The story will be retold in a film adaptation of the book and is scheduled to be released in December. Jack O'Connell will play Zamperini.

In his early 20s Zamperini was a track star at the University of Southern California, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps shortly after the United States entered the war in 1941. He was a bombardier in a B-24 that was flying a rescue mission on May 27, 1944, when his plane, named "The Green Hornet," malfunctioned and fell into the sea.

Sharing a life raft, Lt. Zamperini and two other crash survivors, 2nd Lt. Russell Phillips, and tail gunner, Sgt. Francis McNamara – fought off hunger, thirst, heat and storms while trying to avoid being shot by Japanese planes or eaten by the sharks. They subsisted on rainwater and the few fish they could catch. Lt. Zamperini, who was 5-foot-9, went from 125 to 75 pounds.

In June 1944 Zamperini's parents at home in Terrance, CA, received a message of their son's death signed by President Roosevelt. Unknown to the military, Lt. Zamperini and the others were still adrift at sea. Though Sgt. McNamara died after 33 days, Lt. Zamperini and Second Lt. Phillips were eventually captured by the Japanese.

They then suffered harrowing prison experiences and for a time were in the brutal hands of Mutsuhiro Watanabe, who was classified as a war criminal after the war.

In 1945, at the war's end, Zamperini was liberated along with other prisoners at the Naoetsu camp near Tokyo. "I could take the beatings and the physical punishment," Zamperini has said, "but it was the attempt to destroy your dignity, to make you a nonentity that was the hardest thing to bear." He said his athletic training helped him withstand the torture.

Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. He is the publisher of the The Millbrook Independent. E-mail him at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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