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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2019 06:05 PM
From: Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Expungement of Record of the Wrongfully Convicted
I will be introducing legislation that rectifies Pennsylvania’s unfair and inflexible expungement law with respect to those who have been wrongfully convicted and subsequently exonerated.

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 indicates that only under the following limited circumstances may criminal history be expunged:

“(b) Generally.--Criminal history record information may be expunged when:
(1) An individual who is the subject of the information reaches 70 years of age
and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following final release
from confinement or supervision.

(2) An individual who is the subject of the information has been dead for three years.
(3) (i) An individual who is the subject of the information petitions the court for the
expungement of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for
five years following the conviction for that offense.

(ii) Expungement under this paragraph shall only be permitted for a conviction of a
summary offense.”

Across much of the country, advocates and former prisoners say, “sealing or clearing a criminal record after a wrongful conviction is a tangled and expensive process. It can take years of appeals to courts and pleas to governors to wipe the slate clean.” Even then, many felony convictions remain on federal databases and pop up during background checks or at traffic stops.

This legislation will allow wrongfully convicted persons to pick up the pieces after incarceration by allowing their record to be expunged and requiring all fees associated with the expungement process to be waived by the court having jurisdiction over the matter.

Please join me in cosponsoring this much needed legislation.

Introduced as HB866