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06/12/2024 09:04 PM
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: November 18, 2021 02:04 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Expungement of Mistaken Identity Arrest Records
The cost of arresting someone who did not commit a crime is two-fold: the person being arrested is deprived of their liberty and livelihood and public safety is compromised while the guilty party remains free. For individuals wrongfully accused, the damage is magnified by current Pennsylvania law that places the burden of petitioning for expungement on the individual, even if wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity. This process can take several months and can cost thousands of dollars due to filing fees and the need for a private attorney’s assistance. Further, many of these individuals do not learn of their arrest record until they receive a background check to apply for a job, child custody, school admission, or a professional license.

Therefore, I will be reintroducing legislation to add Pennsylvania to the growing list of states addressing this grave injustice. Under my bill, a law enforcement agency that arrests an individual as a result of mistaken identity, but does not file charges, would be required to petition the court for the expungement of that individual’s related criminal history record, at no cost to the individual. The legislation would also require the court to review the petition and order the expungement of all the individual's records relating to the wrongful arrest within 90 days.

Please join me in supporting this legislation to ensure that no innocent Pennsylvania citizen suffers from a damaged reputation due to mistaken identity.

Introduced as HB2189