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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2015 04:29 PM
From: Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Expungement of Record for the Wrongfully Convicted
In the near future, I will be reintroducing the following legislation Expungement of Record for the Wrongfully Convicted

Imagine spending 10, 20 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. You fight for DNA testing which eventually provides irrefutable proof of your innocence and charges are withdrawn. Finally, you are freed with nothing more than the shirt on your back and the change in your pocket you came to prison with. No apologies, no compensation. You have the grace to put it all behind you and move on with your life. You try to make up for lost time with your family…reacquaint yourself with the community and church. You’re back in the real world and need a job. But wait…the nightmare isn’t over.

No one will consider hiring you because you’re a convicted felon. You’ve spent years in prison. You MUST have been guilty. Why would you have a record otherwise?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, current law completely fails to address individuals exonerated of crimes post-conviction. In fact, section 9122 (b) of the crimes code dictates that criminal history records cannot be expunged unless the individual has reached the age of 70 and is free of arrest for 10 years or he has been DEAD for three years.

Once again, I plan to reintroduce legislation that rectifies Pennsylvania’s unfair and inflexible expungement law with respect to those who have been wrongfully convicted and subsequently exonerated.

Introduced as HB473