BOISE, Idaho -

The Idaho Court of Appeals says a lower judge has the discretion to seal a convicted sex offender's case because the felon's criminal record is hurting his finances.

But the appellate judges made clear in Thursday's ruling that they weren't recommending a Bonner County judge actually seal the case, only that he has the power to, if he chooses.

The appeal was brought by a man calling himself John Doe, who was convicted in 1990 after pleading guilty to felony battery with intent to commit rape. After serving four years in prison, Doe was released on parole, and he's no longer required to register as a sex offender.

Doe contended that his conviction is showing up on background checks and hurting job opportunities, and so should be sealed.