Legislative Action Alert – from
Record Sealing Bill (HB 1082)
sponsored by Representative
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
· 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.
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 email@example.com
Representative Debbie Benefield (D-Jefferson) 303-866-2950 firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Alice Borodkin (D-Denver) 303-866-2910 email@example.com
Representative Doug Bruce (R-El Paso) 303-866-5525 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Representative Andrew Romanoff (D-Arapahoe) 303-866-2346 email@example.com
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