Apr 21, 2013

Expungement Bill Would Expand Second Chance

Here in Michigan, we have long had an "expungement" statute; technically known as an application to set aside conviction.  Until recently, the applicant could have been convicted of only one criminal count on one single occasion.

In mid-2011, the expungement statute was expanded to render a convicted individual still eligible if convicted of more than one crime, provided the following conditions were satisfied:
  • A person who is otherwise eligible to file an application under this section is not rendered ineligible by virtue of being convicted of not more than 2 minor offenses in addition to the offense for which the person files an application.
  • A so-called "minor offense" means a misdemeanor or ordinance violation for which the maximum permissible imprisonment does not exceed 90 days, for which the maximum permissible fine does not exceed $1,000.00, and that is committed by a person who is not more than 21 years of age. [These are rare to the extent that many misdemeanors have a maximum 93-day jail sentence.]
Now, State Representative Stacy Irwin Oakes (D Saginaw) has introduced House Bill 4186 that would  enhance a convicted person's eligibility for expungement.  If the bill passes, a person convicted of a felony, that also no more than two misdemeanors, would nevertheless remain eligible to have the felony expunged under certain circumstances.  In the alternative, persons with no felony convictions would be eligible to have two misdemeanors expunged.

The idea behind Oakes' proposed legislation is that many people in our state, that made a mistake earlier in their lives, continue to be significantly burdened in the job market to the extent that employers simply do not hire anyone with a blemish on their record.

A state house fiscal agency that has analyzed this bill finds that up to 30% of adult citizens in the U.S. have some type of criminal record.  Among employers, statistics have consistently indicated that 66% have indicated they would not knowingly hire someone with a past criminal conviction.

Along these lines, 60% of all colleges consider the criminal history of their applicants in their admissions decision.  Thus, it is crucial from both an education and employment perspective to keep your record clean and clear.



Layne Adams said...

Hi there, nice post. This is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing you thoughts on this issue. Keep it up, looking forward to read another one in the future. Cheers!
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Sean Valjean said...

Wow this is scary. I know that my cousin is a criminal lawyer in Calgary and I am sure that something like this extending the second chance would probably even scare him.