Make a path to expungement for all nonviolent felonies

Make a path to expungement for all nonviolent felonies

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Chris Morris started this petition to Senator (State Senate President) Steven Sweeny and

                My name is Chris Morris.  I am writing to ask for your help.  Like many teenagers, I didn’t understand life in my adolescence.  I was always questioning things and felt as if I didn’t know my place.   I was introduced to alcohol and I enjoyed it as it made me forget what I was feeling.  I was soon chasing alcohol whenever possible and was introduced to drugs a short time later. 

                At 17, I was arrested for the first time as a juvenile for stealing.  It scared me at first, but soon thereafter I went back to my old friends and old ways, drinking and doing drugs.  I quickly gained a reputation for being a user and people would ask where to get drugs from, so I started selling.  It did not take long for me to be arrested for second, third, and fourth time. I have three adult arrests, two are for small amounts of marijuana. One is for LSD distribution, in 1994, which ended in a First Degree distribution charge. This First Degree charge is not able to be expunged. I understand that choices have consequences.  I paid for my choices.  I finished a 12 years prison sentence with four years in prison, four years on parole and the rest of the time worked off for good behavior.  And, i also paid $2,000 in fines.  I have been clean for over 25 years now.  

             My request is twofold, that the NJ Senate make a clean slate expungement possible for all drug felonies(not just marijuana as in Senate Bill No. 3205) as I am not the only one in this kind of situation.  Even if the higher degrees have to wait a time period to show that they have changed and are ready to be a productive member of society.  People really do change and these bad choices that have already been paid for hold them back.  It makes integrating back into society even more difficult.  Not only will it help the individual thrive and make a better life, it will benefit the society as a whole since it takes a convicted felon and transforms them into another productive member of society.  People like myself have already 'paid their debt to society', but are forever labeled a felon.  Give these people, who have made bad choices, the best tool to help them move forward and that is HOPE.  Hope is an extremely powerful tool that helps to shape a person's future.  Also, that since this will take time that NJ Governor Murphy pardon me for my crimes so that I can expunge my record and move on from my horrible mistakes that i made over 25 years ago.

"How we think about the future-how we hope-determines how well we live our lives." Dr. Shane Lopez

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