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February 25 Tuesday

Brown Bag Lunch: EXPUNGEMENT AND THE PRESS: Should an enforceable right to be forgotten apply to the reporting of past entanglements with law enforcement?

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 12:00PM - 2:00PM
  • BH Room 405
  • Open To The YLS Community Only
  • Add to Calendar:


The Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School invite you, your journalist colleagues and others from your organization to the next in their series of occasional lunchtime discussions of current issues facing journalists and their lawyers.

This event on Tuesday, February 25, will consider the complex issues presented by the easy access as a result of internet search to past media reporting and government records on arrests where no charges are brought, prosecutions where no guilt is found, and convictions of defendants who have long since paid their debt to society. With a new public focus on the impact of mass incarceration, some states—including New York—are looking to expand the scope of their expungement statues as a means of preventing past entanglements with law enforcement from unfairly depriving citizens of opportunities for employment, housing and social engagement.  These statutes would work to prevent public access to those records through government sources for current reporting.  But at least some legislatures today seem open to seeking legislative fixes beyond blocking easy access from the government to blocking distribution of past reports online, and courts are being urged to grant injunctive relief or impose penalties on news organizations that continue to disseminate expunged information.

 These developments present important questions for news organizations and their lawyers. What should be the posture of the media with respect to expungement legislation? Are there potential “technology fixes” for the privacy concerns that news organizations should embrace?  To what extent will privacy concerns limit First Amendment protections for online content?  This luncheon will bring together experts from diverse fields of view to explore these questions in a no-holds-barred, off the record discussion designed to advance the search for a path forward for news organizations dealing with these issues. A question and answer session for both journalists and lawyers will follow.


Jonathan Donnellan, Vice-President and Co-General Counsel, Hearst Corporation, and lead counsel in Martin v. Hearst, a case alleging defamation based on the continued posting of a news report about a later-expunged arrest.

Kate Klonick, Assistant Professor at St. John’s University Law School, Affiliate Fellow at the Information Society at Yale Law School and a leading expert on social media content moderation and platform governance.

Brian Murray, Associate Professor, Seton Hall Law School, and a leading expert on expungement law reform and current legislative developments at the state and federal level.

Chris Quinn, Editor at cleveland.com, who oversaw the launch of a “right to be forgotten” adopted voluntarily by that news organization.


Jacob Goldstein, Associate General Counsel, Dow Jones & Company.


This “brown bag lunch” will be held on Tuesday, February 25, from noon to 2:00 p.m.  Bring your own sandwich and we provide refreshments and cookies.  As with past lunches, this discussion will proceed in three locations connected by video conference:


New York City:

Ballard Spahr, LLP

1675 Broadway, 19th Floor (at 52d Street)
New York, NY 10019-5820

 Washington D.C.

Ballard Spahr LLP

1909 K Street, NW, 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20006-1157

New Haven. 

Yale Law School

Baker Hall, Room 405
New Haven, CT 06511

 You and others from your organization may attend and participate in the discussion at any of the three locations, but space is limited, so please R.S.V.P. to reserve a spot.  We hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you on February 25.

 ***RSVP to Lisa Appel,  212-850-6119 or appell@ballardSpahr.com ***

Sponsoring Organization(s)

ISP, MFIA, Abrams