Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Record Sealing Bill Needs Your Help

Legislative Action Alert – from Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition

Record Sealing Bill (HB 1082)

sponsored by Representative Mark Ferrandino and Senator Bob Bacon

Update:

Please contact your Representatives today. The Record Sealing bill was passed on 2nd reading (voice vote only) in the House of Representatives this morning (4/21) and will be heard for 3rd and final passage as early as Tuesday (4/22) or Wednesday (4/23).

History: Last year, a similar record sealing bill was passed by the House (46-18) and Senate (26-8) but vetoed by Governor Ritter. Governor Ritter has indicated that he will only support minor drug offenses as crimes that would be eligible for sealing. Subsequently, the list of crimes eligible for sealing has been significantly narrowed.

CCJRC knows that this will be very disappointing to many of our members who are impacted by criminal records who weren’t convicted of a drug offense and therefore would not be eligible for sealing if HB 1082 were to become law. We apologize that we were not able to convince the Governor to accept a broader range of crimes. However, we believe that this is an important first step that is worth supporting despite its limitations. It may be possible to expand the list of crimes in future negotiations with the Governor’s office.

What the record sealing bill does:

Current Colorado Law prevents any person with a criminal conviction of any type (petty offense, misdemeanor or felony) from sealing their records from public disclosure.

HB 1082 allows people with certain convictions who have successfully completed their sentences and have been offense-free for ten (10) years from the completion of the sentence to petition the court for a sealing of their records. The Court does NOT have to order the sealing. The court will conduct a balancing test to determine if the sealing is fair considering the public’s right to know.

· Only people who have been convicted of drug offenses that are petty offenses, misdemeanors, and minor felonies (Class 5 and Class 6) are eligible to apply for sealing.

· For offenses committed before July 1, 2008, the Prosecuting Attorney will have to consent for the sealing to occur.

· The petitioner is required to pay ALL costs of the sealing, including attorneys’ fees to the Prosecuting Attorney, for the sealing to take place.

· Law enforcement will always have access to convictions (and dismissed cases as well) and convictions to always be available for use for any lawful criminal justice purpose. Convictions will still be available to all employers who have a statutory mandate to conduct a criminal background check.

Rationale:

Even after people have completed their sentence and been law abiding for years or even decades, they are forever stigmatized by having a criminal record.

Even minor offenses, committed many years ago, can prevent someone from obtaining housing and meaningful employment or advancement in his/her career field.

The possibility of being able to seal a criminal record is a strong and real incentive for a person to turn his/her life around.

A recent study found that after six or seven years from an arrest, the likelihood of offending for young men with criminal records is similar to those with no criminal history. For employers concerned about hiring people with criminal records, a criminal record offers little relevant information once a critical period of time has passed. Therefore, over time a criminal history is both less relevant and less accurate in predicting future criminal activity. However, the stigma and bias remain. Scarlet Letters and Recidivism: Does An Old Criminal Record Predict Future Offending?,Kurlycheck, Brame and Bushway, Criminology and Public Policy, Vol 5, No 3 (August 2006)

Additional Supporters: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Colorado, ACLU, Colorado Progressive Coalition, Matthews Center for Excellence, SAFER, Colorado Springs Black/Latino Coalition, Road Called STRATE, Colorado CURE, Sensible Colorado, The Council, Bayaud Industries, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Harm Reduction Project, Metro CareRing, Pendulum Foundation, Capitol Hill United Ministries, Alternative Defense Counsel, TASC, New Foundations, Center For Spirituality at Work, Probation Advocates, Denver Inner City Parish, Advocates for Recovery, Denver Urban Ministries, First Congregational Church-Justice and Peace Ministry, National Lawyers Guild, Progress Now, Colorado Social Legislative Committee, The Center for Progressive Leadership, Justice and Social Professionals Network.

Please call or email your Representative today!

Representative David Balmer (R-Arapahoe) 303-866-2935 david.balmer.house@state.co.us

Representative Debbie Benefield (D-Jefferson) 303-866-2950 debbie@debbiebenefield.org

Representative Alice Borodkin (D-Denver) 303-866-2910 aliceborodkin@aliceborodkin.com

Representative Doug Bruce (R-El Paso) 303-866-5525 doug@dougbruce.com

Representative Bernie Buescher, (D-Mesa) 303-866-2583 bernie.buescher.house@state.co.us

Representative Dorothy Butcher (D-Pueblo) 303-866-2968 dorothy.butcher.house@state.co.us

Representative Morgan Carroll (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2942 morgan.carroll.house@state.co.us

Representative Terrance Carroll (D-Denver) 303-866-2909 terrance.carroll.house@state.co.us

Representative Edward Casso (D-Adams) 303-866-2964 edward.casso.house@state.co.us

Representative Kathleen Curry (D-Eagle) 303-866-2945 kathleen.curry.house@state.co.us

Representative Randy Fischer (D-Larimer) 303-866-2917 randyfischer@frii.com

Representative Jerry Frangas (D-Denver) 303-866-2954 kjerryfrangas@earthlink.net

Representative Sara Gagliardi (D-Jefferson) 303-866-2962, sara.gagliardi.house@state.co.us

Representative Rafael Gallegos (D-Alamosa) 303-866-2916

Representative Bob Gardner (R-El Paso) 303-866-2191 bob.gardner.house@state.co.us

Representative Cory Gardner (R-Adams) 303-866-2906 gardner@plains.net

Representative Stella Garza-Hicks (R-El Paso) 303-866-3069 stella.hicks.house@state.co.us

Representative Gwen Green (D-Jefferson) 303-866-2951 gwyngreen@yahoo.com

Representative Mary Hodge (D-Adams) 303-866-2912 mary.hodge.hosue@state.co.us

Representative Cheri Jahn (D-Jefferson) 303-866-5522 cheri.jahn.house@state.co.us

Representative Joel Judd (D-Denver) 303-866-2925 repjoeljudd@joeljudd.com

Representative John Kefalas (D-Larimer) 303-866-4569 john.kefalas.house@state.co.us

Representative Andy Kerr (D-Jefferson) 303-866-2923 andy.kerr.house@state.co.us

Representative James Kerr (R-Jefferson) 303-866-2939 james.kerr.house@state.co.us

Representative Steve King (R-Delta) 303-866-3068 steve.king.house@state.co.us

Representative Jeanne Labuda (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2966 replabuda@yahoo.com

Representative Kent Lambert (R-El Paso) 303-866-2937 rep.kent.lambert@comcast.net

Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder) 303-866-2578 claire.levy.house@state.co.us

Representative Larry Liston (R-El Paso) 303-866-2965

Representative Marsha Looper (R-El Paso) 303-866-2946 marshalooper@gmail.com

Representative Kevin Lundberg (R-Larimer) 303-866-2907 kevin@kevinlundberg.com

Representative Alice Madden (D-Boulder) 303-866-2348 alice.madden.house@state.co.us

Representative Don Marostica (R-Larimer) 303-866-2947 don@donmarostica.com

Rep. Rosemary Marshall (D-Denver) 303-866-2959 rosemary.marshall.house@state.co.us

Representative Tom Massey (R-Chaffee) 303-866-2747 tom.massey.house@state.co.us

Representative Mike May (R-Douglas) 303-866-5523 mike.may.house@state.co.us

Representative Buffie McFadyen (D-Fremont) 303-866-2905 mcfadyen2002@hotmail.com

Representative Anne McGihon (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2921 anne.mcgihon.house@state.co.us

Representative Wes McKinley (D-Baca) 303-866-2398 wes.mckinley.house@state.co.us

Representative Frank McNulty (R-Douglas) 303-866-2936

Representative Mike Merrifield (D-El Paso) 303-866-2932 michael.merrifield.house@state.co.us

Representative Karen Middleton (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-3911 karen@karenmiddleton.com

Representative Victor Mitchell (R-Douglas) 303-866-2948 victor.mitchell.house@state.co.us

Representative Cherylin Peniston (D-Adams) 303-866-2843 cherylin.peniston.house@state.co.us

Representative Jack Pommer (D-Boulder) 303-866-2780 jack.pommer.house@state.co.us

Representative Dianne Primavera (D-Adams) 303-866-4667 dianneprimavera@yahoo.com

Representative Joe Rice (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2953 joe.rice.house@state.co.us

Representative Jim Riesberg (D-Weld) 303-866-2929 jim.riesberg.house@state.co.us

Representative Ellen Roberts (R-Archuleta) 303-866-2914 ellen.roberts.house@state.co.us

Representative Andrew Romanoff (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2346 romanoff@coloradohouse.org

Representative Ray Rose (R-Delta) 303-866-2955

Representative Christine Scanlan (D-Eagle) 303-866-2952 repscanlan@gmail.com

Representative Judy Solano (D-Adams) 303-866-2918 judy.solano.house@state.co.us

Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Logan) 303-866-3706 jerry@electsonnenberg.com

Representative John Soper (D-Adams) 303-866-2931 john.soper.house@state.co.us

Representative Debbie Stafford (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2944 house40@comcast.net

Representative Amy Stephens (R-El Paso) 303-866-2924 amy.stephens.house@state.co.us

Representative Ken Summers (R-Jefferson) 303-866-2927 ken.summers.house@state.co.us

Representative Spencer Swalm (R-Arapahoe) 303-866-5510 spencer.swalm.house@state.co.us

Representative Nancy Todd (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2919 nancy.todd.house@state.co.us

Representative Glenn Vaad (R-Weld) 303-866-2943 glenn.vaad.house@state.co.us

Representative Paul Weissmann (D-Boulder) 303-866-2920 reppaul@aol.com

Representative Al White (R-Garfield) 303-866-2949 al.white.house@state.co.us

Representative Robert Witwer (R-Jefferson) 303-866-2582 rob.witwer.house@state.co.us

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

this bill is so watered down i am appalled that the legislature wasted the tax payers dollars to try pass it.
When an inmate reaches parole wheater time served or good behavior they should be done and there records sealed at that time. Ten years down the road the person is back in prison probably because all thats available to them is a minimum wage job. djw

Anonymous said...

Any ... ANY! ... sentence that has been completed should be sealed, especially after a full decade of productive living. Sorry. This is not good enough. The labeling still continues unjustifiably and with bias. Ten full years is quite enough time to know that an ex-inmate is exactly that: AN EX-INMATE. ALL misdemeanors and felonies included. Why the discrimination and the hell-bent continuance of judgment?

Patty said...

Records should be sealed if someone has a single petty offense 2, for possession of marijuana of less that 1 oz, did no jail time, no fines to pay to the court, no community service, etc., and just wants to find a good job to be a contributing member of society. Because a petty offense 2 shows up on a background check as a misdemeanor, most employers don't know how minor a crime the petty offense 2 is, and therefore, labels an individual with the offense as non-hireable. Young adults who make stupid mistakes and want to learn from those mistakes are often left feeling like giving up on the world. We as a nation have been caught up in a catch 22 because of the laws that are passed to "so call" protect the public. Where did our sense of helping people to become more productive and caring individuals go? The answer lies within our government justice system. Our rights have been taken away if someone has made a minor mistake. Young adults are left with no place to earn money except to potentially turn to higher levels of crime. They are desperate individuals because our society has made them feel this way. Our laws need to be changed to seal these records of people who have minor drug offenses, but it takes all of us to act NOW!!! Support your state legistature when a bill is being presented to the House and Senate. Stay active and let your voice be heard. Please don't sit on the sidelines thinking that your voice doesn't count. It takes all of us to help these individuals acclimate back into society. I am going to have my voice heard when I testify in support of Colorado Bill 1082, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/28/08 at 1:30 pm., at the Colorado State Capital, Senate Committee Hearing Room 356. I have never done this before, but I feel so compelled to help make a difference and support this bill. We have the power to let our voices be heard...we have to be proactive for our family members who are stigmatized as criminals...start acting now. If this current bill passes to seal the records of minor drug offenses after 10 years, then at least we are working toward a positive force. Currently there isn't anything available to have a record sealed. A petty offense 2 can be on your record forever if you don't act now. If this bill is passed, then it opens the doors to possibly have another bill enacted to lessen the 10-year time from to 2-5 years. Anything is possible if we can get this current bill to be signed into Colorado law. Do your part to help make this happen.

Anonymous said...

I read the bill over I thought with a fine tooth comb. However, if I read the summary above this blog, it states only minor felonies for drug convictions are applicable for sealing. Does this bill cover all felonies except the ones explicitly listed? i.e. violent crimes, gun crimes, crimes against pregnant women? An educated response would be wonderful to ease my mind in the event this does pass.

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