When Nate Diaz is called out by a reporter for his recent arrest, his eyes widen.
The fight that was brewing between the two men at a local bar has spilled over into a public brawl and, ultimately, Diaz was ordered to jail for six months.
He says he’s going to fight back.
But for now, Diaz is holding out hope for a speedy court-approved criminal record check.
And it’s going well for him.
He just wants a quick check, one he can get through to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a quick court hearing.
“I’m just hoping it’s a quick process, that they don’t do anything to me,” Diaz said.
“I’m hoping that they can get the records in a week, and then get me out of there.”
As Diaz waits to see if he’ll get the criminal record review he has been waiting for, he says he knows there are still a lot of things he has to work through.
“It’s definitely going to take time, but I’m hoping it’ll be quick,” he said.
Diaz’s story is a common one for some Americans, and it’s an ongoing concern for the FBI.
“The FBI has had a number of cases in which people have been prosecuted for domestic violence or other crimes and there was an issue with their records,” said David M. Schlesinger, an associate deputy attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs, which is charged with fighting against the scourge of mass surveillance.
Schlesinger said the agency has made several changes in recent years to make it easier for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to get the help they need.
The latest changes include making it easier to report crimes that were committed while a victim was in custody, and eliminating the requirement that victims prove they were the victim of a felony.
“We know we can do a criminal record background check on people if they have an arrest record, and we can’t do that if they haven’t been arrested for a felony,” said Schleslinger.
“And we don’t know if they’re going to be able to do a domestic violence background check, which would be a criminal offense.”
But there’s still an issue.
Schleinger said it takes two to three years for a criminal records check to be processed by the FBI, and the agency doesn’t usually give offenders the opportunity to get a criminal history check.
“We think it would be in the best interest of people to get an accurate criminal history, and that means that they need to file that and get it in front of the government,” Schlesinge said.
But some victims say they’re being held back.
One woman told the Associated Press that her husband was arrested for domestic abuse after she was beaten up and he was the one who punched her in the face.
She said she was afraid she would be taken to jail.
But he was able to get out after being held for three days, the AP reported.
And a victim of domestic abuse told the AP that she was forced to go through a lengthy criminal record search that lasted nearly two years.
Her story illustrates how difficult it can be for victims to get their voices heard when it comes to their civil rights.
“If you’re not getting the help you need, then you are at risk of having your civil rights violated,” said Joanna Tarr, executive director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Tarr said the FBI needs to do more to ensure that victims have access to legal representation and help when they’re in trouble.
She also said the bureau should require victims to sign documents that would make them more likely to get help from an outside agency.
“You have a duty to sign a document that gives you the ability to get services and help if you are not being given that,” Tarr said.
The FBI declined to comment on the specifics of the case.