Time to Act on Criminal Record Expungement Bill01 Mar

Rep. Owens

Since our last post about Rep. Darryl Owens’ House Bill 64, it was returned to the Judiciary committee and modified to address concerns raised during the first committee meeting. The full House then debated the bill and voted to send it to the Senate for consideration.  Because of the changes made, it gained the support of some who had objected to its original language. It passed with strong bi-partisan support, 79 voting yes, and only 21 voting no.

Kentucky law already allows persons guilty of a misdemeanor to ask a court to expunge their criminal records. House Bill 64 would also allow those convicted of a Class D felony to do the same. Class D felony crimes are the least serious of all felonies.

Expungement of one’s record is not automatic, and only those with one felony conviction are eligible. When a request for expungement is made, the court must schedule a hearing and notify the office of the the prosecutor who handled the case of the scheduled hearing.

If the Class D offense committed was a sex offense, an offense related to elder abuse, or an offense committed against a child, then the court is not allowed to expunge the criminal record.

Even if one’s record is expunged a person must reveal that to others whenever federal or state law or regulation requires one to do so.

The Catholic Conference supports HB 64 and similar measures that foster reintegration into society after a person has committed serious crimes and fulfilled the requirements  imposed upon them by the courts. The Conference agrees with the comments made by Rep. David Floyd during the floor debate. After noting that having a felony record impacts a person for life, he added:

Every one of us wants justice to be done. Let justice be done, and then let it be done.

The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Judiciary committee. Join others in contacting your State Senator by calling 1.800.372.7181 to leave a message and urge support for HB 64.

To learn more about what our U. S. and Kentucky bishops have said about restorative approaches to criminal justice, click here and here. Principles in both these documents serve as guides when the Conference makes decisions regarding bills introduced for consideration by Kentucky lawmakers.

Photo: Kentucky Legislative Research Commission website

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