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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 8, 2019 10:34 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Automatic Expungement after Pardon (Prior HB 2447)
A pardon by the Governor is the highest act of clemency or forgiveness for a person’s criminal offenses that is recognized by Pennsylvania law. The purpose of a pardon is to restore all of the legal rights and privileges that the person forfeited by being convicted of a criminal offense. In order to obtain a pardon, an offender must submit to an investigation by agents of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, answer questions posed by the Board of Pardons during a hearing, and receive the approval of the Governor.

Despite the purpose of a pardon and the extensive process to receive one, offenders who receive a pardon in Pennsylvania must nonetheless go to a court of common pleas and apply for an expungement of the criminal record so that it will not remain visible to employers and the public. These applications for expungement are routinely granted. Requiring this duplicative step in the process, however, consumes the resources of our courts and imposes additional expenses and hardships on a person already deemed to be worthy of the Commonwealth’s forgiveness.

In the near future, I will re-introduce a bill that will provide for automatic expungement of criminal records for any offense that has been the subject of an executive pardon. Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation to reduce the burden on our courts and to streamline the restoration of rights to certain offenders.

Introduced as HB841