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Petitioning New York Legislature

Enact a law permitting the courts to expunge a non-violent conviction

In this time of economic hardship, it is increasingly difficult for those with a criminal past to find legitimate legal employment. Many New Yorkers continue to be punished for mistakes made in their youth despite having lived a law abiding life since their earlier trouble. In fact, many have gone to build successful families and careers yet they still are haunted by the stress and stigma of having a criminal record. Some have gone decades without new trouble and yet they are denied the opportunity at expunging their conviction.

At a time when society should be encouraging their continued success, it is instead stonewalling their hopes of a fresh start. With new laws in New York which permit sealing of prior convictions upon successful completion of DIVERSION or similar DTAP Drug Court treatment, it is time for the legislature to right this inequality. Why should someone with up to four convictions get the chance at a clean record when they haven't shown the ability to lead a law abiding life but not others adversely impacted by their convictions? Of course, I am not suggesting that there should be an automatic sealing of records. However, there should be some mechanism where these individuals can petition the courts and allow their story to be heard. As it stands today, the only hope that some New Yorkers have to get their records expunged is to commit new crimes and get sentenced to an eligible drug treatment program and that is not justice.

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