By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A judge refused Monday to erase former Cincinnati Health Commissioner Stanley Broadnax's criminal conviction on drug charges.
Broadnax, who was paroled in 1997 after serving two years in prison for selling crack cocaine, asked the court in February to expunge his criminal record.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker denied the request during a hearing, saying Broadnax does not qualify for expungement because the six charges he was convicted of must be considered individually.
Under Ohio law, expungements are intended to give first-time offenders with a small number of convictions a second chance at a clean slate.
If a record is expunged, it is removed from public view and no longer available to potential employers or anyone else.
"This is much, much more than a mistake," Dinkelacker said. "It was a breach of trust. ... It was felonies that just can't be overlooked; and, based upon that, I feel it would be an abuse of my discretion to allow the expungement."
"Day in and day out I see what is happening in the community," Dinkelacker said. "Drug dealing is a bad situation."
At the time of his drug conviction, Broadnax had resigned as health commissioner but still had his medical license.
And if anyone can see the ill effects of dealing drugs it is a doctor, Dinkelacker said: "You take an oath to help people, not hurt people. Selling drugs certainly hurts people."
Broadnax, 57, said he would appeal Dinkelacker's decision to the 1st District Court of Appeals.
"I'm disappointed with the verdict, but I'm also inspired," said Broadnax, who now works to help people overcome drug addiction. "There are thousands of people in Hamilton County that deserve a second chance."
During the hearing, Broadnax apologized.
He explained that he has kicked his drug habit with treatment and attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He is involved in his church. And, he works for Ammons Workforce Development, a local church-based workforce development program.
"I'm attempting to give back to the community," he said.
But he said it's difficult for convicted felons to move on because their criminal convictions hinder them in getting a job and finding a place to live.
Because of the convictions, Broadnax said, he lost his medical license and hasn't been able to get homeowner insurance. He declined to say if he was seeking the expungement in order to get his medical license back.
In Hamilton County last year, 513 people sought to have their criminal convictions erased; 401 of which were granted.
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