Expanding Expungement in Georgia is Given a Second Chance

By Gilbert Morales, Reference GRA

On January 1, 2021, Georgia’s “Second Chance” law went into effect. The new law improves an individual’s ability to restrict and seal certain criminal convictions from the general public, a process commonly referred to as expungement. According to the Georgia Justice Project, “Georgia finally joins 41 other states that allow an individual an opportunity to expunge certain convictions after a period of time.”[1] The new law is the latest development in a decade-long push to facilitate rehabilitation for former offenders. Advocates contend that public access to all convictions, even minor offenses, poses a substantial barrier to a former offender’s rehabilitation. Allowing access to an individual’s criminal history can limit job opportunities and housing eligibility, increasing the chances for that individual to re-offend. 

Misdemeanors 

Advocates say the new law is a step forward. Unlike Georgia’s previous “record restriction” law that only allowed court petitions for sealing offenses that did not result in a conviction and made a narrow exception for misdemeanor convictions committed by individuals under 21, the new law allows individuals to seal two misdemeanor convictions with limited age restrictions. So long as an individual has not reoffended and 4 years have passed since completing their sentence, they can petition the court to seal their misdemeanor conviction. The law does not cover all misdemeanors. Notably, misdemeanors involving sex crimes are excluded from consideration. Moreover, all family violence battery convictions are excluded unless the individual was under 21 years old at the time of the arrest. 

Felonies and Pardons

The new law also covers felony convictions that were pardoned by the State Board of Pardons & Paroles. So long as the pardon was not for a serious violent felony or sexual offense, an individual can petition the court to seal the record of that conviction. An individual must wait 5 years after they have completed their sentence before petitioning the court and cannot have re-offended during those 5 years.

The Process 

A petitioner seeking to restrict and seal a misdemeanor conviction must petition the court that handled the case. For felony convictions, individuals must first obtain a pardon and then file a petition in the original sentencing court. In sealing documents, the court will consider the harm to the individual versus the public interest in knowing about the conviction. An important caveat to remember is that although a record may be restricted and sealed from the general public, law enforcement and prosecutors retain access to those records. 

Beyond Expungement

An important wrinkle in the new law is the liability protection for employers hiring individuals with criminal backgrounds. Liability protection addresses the fear by some employers that hiring someone with a criminal background who then commits a workplace offense will lead to a claim against the employer for negligent hiring. Whether this fear is well-founded is up for debate and another blog entry, nevertheless, it is a major feature of the new law.

Going Forward

The Second Chance law is a major opportunity for former offenders to build back their lives. By allowing misdemeanor convictions and felony pardons to be petitioned, the law enlarges the pool of individuals that can have their records restricted and sealed. The hope is that the new law enables these individuals to integrate back into society. That being said, there are always places where the law can expand such as applying record restrictions to felony convictions that are not pardoned. As one advocate from the Georgia Justice Project stated, although the Second Chance law is a step forward in the right direction, “it is only the beginning.”[2]

To Learn More

The Georgia Justice Project is hosting free sessions to help people understand their criminal history and what they can do about it on the first Friday of each month in 2021. For more information and contact information for them, go to https://www.gjp.org/first-fridays/. Also, to locate additional legal aid that may be available for pro se and self-represented litigants the legal services in Atlanta & the Metro-Atlanta Area Legal, check out our Legal Services in Atlanta & the Metro-Atlanta Area Legal Library Guide (LibGuide).

NOTE:  This post is an update to 2017’s post on the same subject https://theblackacretimes.com/2017/10/24/criminal-background-checks-georgia-law/.


[1] https://www.gjp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020.9.21-SB-288-One-pager_Final.pdf

[2] https://www.gpb.org/news/2021/01/01/second-chance-law-takes-effect-offers-hope-georgians-criminal-past

Featured GSU Law Librarian: Pam Brannon

During the spring and fall semesters of this year, we are highlighting our Personal Librarian program by featuring one of our “fabulous” (a favorite term of this month’s featured Librarian) Law Librarians.

The Personal Librarian program is another way that the GSU Law Library connects to students. In this program, students are paired with a Librarian and through communications, they are able to stay up to date on library services and ask questions that they may have during their time at the Georgia State University College of Law.

This month we are featuring Pam Brannon, our Coordinator of Faculty Services. She has been at the GSU Law Library for over 13 years! The following is a little Q&A from Pam:

  • What do you do? I’m in charge of the services that the library provides to faculty – such as researching arcane (and non-arcane) topics and working with faculty research assistants – and supervise the library’s research GRAs. I also do a lot of other things, including work at the reference desk, teach research methods, and help decide what we purchase.
  • Did you always want to be a librarian? Not really, although I gravitated toward libraries fairly early (I was in my elementary school’s library club – basically, I shelved books). When I graduated from undergrad, I thought I was going to go back to grad school (probably in English lit) to be a professor. But then I started working at the UGA libraries, and I decided pretty quickly afterward that I wanted to be a librarian.
  • Favorite class in school? In undergrad, either History of Rock Music or Ulysses. In library school, I really enjoyed my Book Publishing class, but that may just have been because we got to talk about comic books with a guy from DC Comics. In law school, probably Sexual Orientation & the Law.
  • Favorite legal resource? I love the Federal Register, and both the Federal Register website and Regulations.gov are wonderful because they really help do what the Federal Register was designed to do – make the process of federal rulemaking more transparent and more accountable to the people.
  • Favorite place in Atlanta? Even though I don’t go there much at all anymore, I still love Little 5 Points.

You can learn more things about Pam, like her favorite movie and sport, as well as about the personal librarian program at this link.

The History of Georgia’s Black Legal Community

Image of Styles Hutchins
Styles L. Hutchins, the first Black attorney admitted to the Georgia Bar. From Wikimedia Commons.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we reflect upon the important history of the Black legal community in Georgia. The first Black attorney admitted to the Georgia Bar, Styles Hutchins, was admitted in 1878. He spent much of his career practicing in Chattanooga, and served as a member of the Tennessee legislature. In the early 1940s future Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Rachel E. Pruden-Herndon became the first Black woman to pass the Georgia bar exam and be admitted to the Georgia Bar.

Several other Black members of the Georgia legal community played key roles in the civil rights movement and desegregation efforts in Georgia. Georgia attorneys including future United States District Judge Horace T. Ward, legendary civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell, and Vernon Jordan, a future leader of the National Urban League and political advisor, launched a series of challenges that ultimately led to the beginning of desegregation at the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Another prominent Black Atlanta attorney, Howard Moore, Jr., was involved in the landmark case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, in which the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed Congress’s authority to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations by private businesses involved in interstate commerce.

In 1948 ten African-American Atlanta lawyers, including attorney and mentor A.T. Walden, founded the Gate City Bar Association, a professional association dedicated to supporting African-American attorneys in Georgia. The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys was founded in 1981 to promote the involvement of Black women attorneys and increase focus on women’s and children’s issues. These associations continue to work to support African-American attorneys in Georgia through education, community involvement, and events. These efforts include the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp, an three-week summer program presented in partnership with the Georgia State University College of Law. The program, named after the first African-American member of the Georgia Supreme Court, introduces minority high school students to the study of law and gives them an opportunity to intern with lawyers in the metro Atlanta area.

The Law Library and other GSU libraries have numerous books and other resources available for those wishing to learn more about the history of Black attorneys in Georgia. These resources include the following books:

Managing Your Time in Law School

[UPDATED REBLOG FROM JAN. 2019]

By Sara Landeryou, Reference GRA

Whether you just survived your first semester, are beginning your last, or are somewhere in between, YOU ARE BUSY.  And no one but other law students or lawyers really gets it.  So how do you make time to do everything you need to do, some of the things you want to do, and the things your family and friends expect of you?  You could stretch yourself so thin that you snap.  You could stop sleeping or eating to gain extra time.  You could let the exercise go.  Or, you can keep reading (if you have the time) and learn some tricks for using your time wisely while in law school.

There is no way to add hours to your day, so we need to learn how to use the time we have more effectively.  The ideas below are geared toward the time that we are in school, but good habits will hopefully spill over into our lives after school and will be helpful as our responsibilities change.

Your future may include working in big law and billing lots of hours for several years, getting married and having children, opening your own firm, you just never know.  Learning how to manage your time effectively now will help with all those things that are coming more quickly than you think!

So what can you do?

Get more and better sleep.  It seems counterintuitive when you are trying to save time, but getting more and better quality sleep will actually save you time in the long run.  When you are well-rested, you have more energy, your mind is clearer (for studying), and your body is healthier, so you don’t risk getting sick when finals roll around.

Exercise.  Yes, it takes time, and maybe you can’t carve out an hour a day, but even a little will help you to feel better.  You can add exercise or at least extra movement during the day.  It will keep your body and brain energized and you will feel better for it at the end of the day.  Take the stairs, do your reading while you’re on the treadmill or the elliptical, do a few relaxing yoga poses five minutes before bed.  Even increasing your movement 15 minutes in bits throughout the day is a win.

Mix your studying and social time.  Really.  Study (virtually) with your friends.  Have a glass of wine or a beer.  Work through hypos in a more relaxed and social scene.  You can’t study drunk, but you’ll actually learn more by talking through hypos with friends than by rereading a case book.  Yes, you’ve got to practice writing, but the most important part of learning is really “getting” it.  That is done by talking it through and practicing applying the law.  Who better to do that with than the people at school that you like the most.

Give family and non-law friends 100% of your attention.  This is tough.  You’ve got so much on your mind, you really don’t have time to hang out, and now you’re being told to give 100% of your attention?  It can be done.  In fact, one of the reasons they are frustrated is that when you are with them, you aren’t “with” them.  So, you can actually get away with less time as long as the time you give is quality time. Do a movie night with friends or video chat with mom/dad during lunch. But don’t think about law school at all.  You need the break and so do they!

If you are working….  This is a little harder but worth a try.  If you are a student that is working and going to law school, try to work in the legal field.  First, your colleagues will understand the struggle better than non-law colleagues and they’ll cut you some slack.  Second, you’ll be learning more about the law while you are at work, and you’ll be learning a lot of the things you don’t learn in law school.  You’ll also be networking to some extent and may work yourself right into a post-law school job which will save you a lot of interviewing time.

Turn off your phone.  Not all the time, but for at least an hour of reading/studying time.  It is so easy, especially when you have a boring class and/or terrible reading, to keep peeking at your phone or listening for that little buzz that lets you set the book down and check out something more interesting.  Just shut it down!  Give yourself an hour and power through all of that reading instead of dragging it out and never finishing it all.

Plan.  Set a plan for yourself.  This doesn’t mean that you have to make an hourly calendar of what you are going to do, but it does mean taking 5 now to look ahead.  If you’ve read your syllabus and you know that you’re going to have a project due at the end of February, right about the same time that your best friend has her annual birthday party that leaves you in bed for three days after, start working on it as soon as possible.  Outline as you go instead of waiting until the end of the semester, set monthly goals for that big paper so that you can turn it in before it is due instead of cranking it out at the end.

Reflect.  At least for a few minutes, each day, week, or month.  Look at what has been working for you, and what hasn’t, and change it.

Have any other ideas for saving time?  Share them with your friends!

ALERT PROGRAM: SPRING 2021 LINEUP

Happy New Year, and welcome back! We are excited to announce the spring 2021 ALERT sessions.

The spring ALERT program topics and dates:

What is the Alert Program?

ALERT (Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology) is a non-credit program that provides law students additional opportunities outside of the College of Law’s curriculum to learn legal research and technology skills.

By completing the ALERT Program, students can demonstrate to potential employers that they have obtained practice ready skills. Students will have their entire law school term to complete the program.

Levels of Completion:

With Distinction: Complete 6 Topics
With High Distinction: Complete 8 Topics
With Highest Distinction: Complete 10 Topics

For more information, or to RSVP please see: http://lawlibrary.gsu.edu/services/alert-program/.

Reading Suggestions – 2020 Winter Break Librarian Edition

I know, I know.  You’re sick of reading.  I get it.  But, remember when reading wasn’t stressful?  Remember reading for fun, when forgetting a key piece of information was only a mild annoyance that interrupted the flow of your book instead of the difference between a B+ and an A-?  I do (probably because I haven’t been a law student for a decade) and I think you should too.

In light of our new, lighter approach to reading, the law librarians thought you could use a few fun, interesting, enjoyable books for winter break.  No, these won’t be on the exam. 

Books held by Georgia State hyperlink to the GilFind Catalog. Books available in online format are indicated.

Pam Brannon

Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greet

A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of “arresting lyricism and beauty.”

Kris Niedringhaus

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver presents a personal selection of her best work in this definitive collection spanning more than five decades of her esteemed literary career.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

A sweeping tale of clashing cultures, warring gods, and forbidden love: In 1000 AD, a young Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior become unwilling allies as war breaks out between their peoples and their gods-one that will determine the fate of them all.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane

In Underland, Robert Macfarlane delivers an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Traveling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time—from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come—Underland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.

Cassandra Patterson

“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

The author presents real-life examples and the latest research on how straight talk about racial identities is essential to facilitate communication across racial and ethnic divides. It helps readers to figure out where to start the conversation. 

Online Version Available

Terrance Manion

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry

Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths—stylishly retold by Stephen Fry. This legendary writer, actor, and comedian breathes new life into beloved tales. From Persephone’s pomegranate seeds to Prometheus’s fire, from devious divine schemes to immortal love affairs, Fry draws out the humor and pathos in each story and reveals its relevance for our own time. Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world, with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.

Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss (Forward by Judd Apatow).

I really don’t feel like this book needs a description.

Patrick Parsons

Levon: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond by Sandra B. Tooze

Not available in the library. Email me at pparsons@gsu.edu to borrow my copy. It’s awesome.

He sang the anthems of a generation: “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” and “Life Is a Carnival.” Levon Helm’s story––told here through sweeping research and interviews with close friends and fellow musicians––is the rollicking story of American popular music itself.

Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers by Charlie Louvin, Benjamin Whitmer

Get ready for one of America’s great untold stories: the true saga of the Louvin Brothers, a mid-century Southern gothic Cain and Abel and one of the greatest country duos of all time. The Los Angeles Times called them “the most influential harmony team in the history of country music,” but Emmylou Harris may have hit closer to the heart of the matter, saying “there was something scary and washed in the blood about the sound of the Louvin Brothers.” For readers of Johnny Cash’s irresistible autobiography and Merle Haggard’s My House of Memories, no country music library will be complete without this raw and powerful story of the duo that everyone from Dolly Parton to Gram Parsons described as their favorites: the Louvin Brothers.

Meg Butler

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

Shocked by the commerce in everything from pet cloning to patriotism, frightened by the downward spiral of her finances and that of the trash-strewn earth, Judith Levine enlists her partner, Paul, in a radical experiment: to forgo all but the most necessary purchases for an entire year.

Frugalwoods – Financial Independence and Simple Living

A website eschewing the philosophy “managing your money wisely enables you to pursue unusual aspirations and opens up a world of options for how to live your life.”

Finals Help & Virtual Study Breaks

Another tough semester almost complete! Hang in there, you are days away from finishing.

We wanted to remind you of two opportunities to get some help from librarians or take a break from studying!

We still have two virtual events where you can meet with Librarians:

  • Virtual PB&J 
    • Thursday, December 10th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm.
    • Drop in to enjoy some PB&J virtually, ask reference questions, or just chat with us!
  • Virtual Thursday Trivia
    • Thursday, December 10th from 5:00 – 6:00 pm.
    • The winner will be labeled the GSU Law Library Trivia Master and will be featured on the Law Library’s digital displays.

Pet Pics Display:

  • Pictures of students, faculty, staff, and their pets are on display via the private link sent to you in the most recent personal librarian email. Please reach out to us if you need access to it. These images are also being displayed on the law library digital signage. You can still get your pet added to the display by emailing Gerard Fowke at gfowke@gsu.edu

As a reminder, we will be open to the GSU Law community for normal Fall 2020 hours through the end of the exam period, December 16th.

Good luck on finals! Reach out to us if you need assistance, research-based or otherwise.

Dear 1Ls,

By Christina M. Herd, Reference GRA

Congratulations! You have almost made it through your first semester of law school. I remember how overwhelmed I felt at this point in my first semester. Is my outline sufficient? How do I begin studying for finals? Do I even understand the material? I was able to ask these questions to my peers in person, and I cannot imagine the difficulties of a 1L semester that is mostly online. The Law Library is here to help.

Consider study aids a multi-tool in your law school toolkit. They include hypotheticals of all lengths for exam prep, multiple-choice questions to check your knowledge of concepts, and, most importantly, summaries of cases and concepts. Some of your professors may have included suggested study aids in your syllabus. If not, the Law Library has compiled a list of useful sources for you as you enter exam season.

Resources for Comprehension

You may find yourself struggling to understand the legal concepts you learned back in August, or even last week, as you prepare for exams. Many study aids provide clear and concise summaries of the material. Here are a few of the best resources to help comprehend legal concepts:

Casenote Legal Briefs 

Glannon’s Guide

The Acing Series

Resources for Exam Preparation

Having a thorough outline ready for exams is important, but an outline is most useful when used as a reference and not a crutch. Testing your knowledge as you prepare your outline is a helpful way to ensure your exam time is spent creating a thoughtful analysis as opposed to researching rules. The more hypos you practice, the more prepared you will be for the exam. Here are a few of the best resources to test your knowledge:

Emanuel’s CrunchTime 

Examples & Explanations

Exam Pro Series

Most importantly, as you enter the exam season, don’t forget to take a deep breath and take care of yourself. You’ve got this!

Spotlight: Mindfulness, Stress Management, and Wellbeing Resources

You may have been thinking about it all semester, but after Halloween, the feeling that something spooky lurks in the future lingers…law school exams. This time coincides with the holiday season, which for many means disrupted routines and extra tasks or responsibilities, not to mention economic stress. This year, we have the added bonus of uncertainty associated with the global pandemic.

In light of all that, perhaps you would like to extend your knowledge about mental health resources available on campus?

The College of Law Mindfulness Program may be one resource of interest. A six-week program, the sessions provide basics about mindfulness meditation and opportunities to practice. The program is set to be accessed on your own schedule.

Another obvious place to start is with the resources available through the Counseling & Testing Center. The Center is open, and wellness programs are virtual.

But don’t fear! The Law Library has resources to support you too. It may be that you can minimize your exam stress by consulting tools like those found in our online study aids collection.

You may be happy to learn that we have other books that might be of interest. We have books on mindfulness, such as The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation, program materials from a continuing legal education session about applying mindfulness meditation in law practice, or Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—And Your Life.

If mindfulness or meditation is not your jam, maybe you would find something like A Lawyer’s Guide to Wellbeing and Managing Stress of interest.  Stress Management for Lawyers: How to Increase Personal & Professional Satisfaction in the Law might offer tools and strategies you would find useful.

We have online access to some other titles. For example, Stress at Work Management and Prevention is easily available and offers an overview of stress and how it functions as well as coping strategies. There are a bunch of online books about mindfulness, and you can review the results of this library search to pick the book of your choice. If you’d prefer to change the focus and search for lawyer and anxiety or depression, there are also some books you might find of interest.

If you haven’t heard it before, you can remember that you heard it here: taking care of your mental health will only help you as you work your way through law school and your future career path.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Bee .. Haunted House Disclosure Law!

Copyright © 2015 Roger H. Goun. Available at http://www.virtualnexus.com/images/beetlejuicegroup2015small.jpg

Imagine this.  You’re a New York City real estate developer.  You just married your second wife, an interior designer, and are looking to get out of the big city and experience some country life.  Your real estate agent finds exactly the perfect house in Wind River, Connecticut (not a real place upon further inspection.) However, the current owners have no interest in selling.  Strangely the day after throwing your agent out of the house, the current owners drove off of a bridge and died.  You immediately swipe in and buy the Connecticut property, and move your daughter, wife, and wife’s interior designer friend Otho into the house.  Your wife immediately starts to remodel the home to give it a more modern esthetic, because, that’s what she does.

However, weird things start happening. One day while eating lunch, everyone present, as if they could read each other’s minds, starts in on what seems to be a well-rehearsed and well-coordinated version the Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song (Day-O.)  While it was really well done, and quite a bit of fun, it seemed strange because no one in your family really likes calypso music or is a particularly good singer.  Strange.  Then, you hear your daughter, who admittedly has always been a bit eccentric, having conversations with people in the attic.  Upon inspection, you find a strange model town and an even stranger book titled Handbook for the Recently Deceased.  Interior designer Otho has always been into these types of things, so he tries to have a séance as described in the book.  Before you know it, you have a couple of decaying ghosts floating above your kitchen table, your daughter dressed in an old-timey wedding dress, and this guy Beatleguise transforming into a purple and black snake.  Even though you always preferred Michael Keaton’s batman to all the others, this situation is less than ideal, and you’d really like to get your money back and return this ridiculous house. 

Of course, this is the plot of the cult classic ghost movie Beatlejuice from a different perspective.  But, this is a legitimate legal question that has been addressed by state legislatures and courts alike – are there remedies for homebuyers who buy haunted houses?  There are causes of actions for purposefully hidden defects like plumbing and electrical issues, so why not ghosts?

Unfortunately, in terms of legal remedies, the Deetz family is probably out of luck.  Connecticut has enacted a set of statutes sometimes called the “Ghostbuster Laws[1].”  These laws specifically state that the existence of a nonmaterial fact need not be disclosed in a real estate sale and that “no cause of action shall arise for the failure to disclose a nonmaterial fact[2].” Moreover, the law defines “nonmaterial fact” as the fact that a property has been infected with diseases or was at any time suspected to have been the site of a death or felony[3].  Disclosure must only be made if asked for by the purchaser.[4]  While the statutes do not specifically mention hauntings, Connecticut law seems to focus much more on whether any nondisclosed acts had any physical effects on the house.  So long as the sandworms didn’t smash big holes in the floor (which they ended up doing in the movie), the Deetz family is probably out of luck.

But, what about Georgia? If the Deetz’s house was in, say, Stone Mountain Georgia, they’d probably have a similar result.  Unfortunately, Georgia and the rest of the country handle hauntings disclosure in much the same way.  Similar to the Connecticut law, the Georgia Stigmatized Property Act states that no cause of action shall arise for failure to disclose if the property was occupied by a person with a disease or the site of a homicide unless specifically asked[5].  If states speak on this type of disclosure, this is the majority approach[6]

Hope is not lost, though, for haunted house owners countrywide.  In Stambovsky v. Ackley, the New York Appeals Court did hold that when a house seller failed to disclose her belief that a house was haunted by a poltergeist, the buyer could rescind the contract of sale but not receive money damages[7].     

In conclusion, US law seems to favor a more “Casper the Friendly Ghost” than a “suck you into the tv Poltergeist” approach.  State statutes typically only require physical defect disclosures and typically don’t require sellers to disclose known hauntings, past murders, or diseases. So, if you’re anywhere but New York state, make sure to specifically ask your seller if the house is haunted. If you’re in the right state, they’ll have to disclose.  Otherwise, you had better hope that your ghost is the Casper type, because beyond reselling, you’re probably stuck with your house and all your new paranormal friends.  


[1] So characterized in Robinson v. Parillo, 1999 WL 240735 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1999)

[2] Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 20-329dd

[3] Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 20-329cc

[4] Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 20-329ee

[5] O.C.G.A. § 44-1-16

[6] See 18 A.L.R.7th Art. 2 (Originally published in 2016) for more examples and detail. 

[7] Stambovsky v. Ackley, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1st Dep’t 1991)