ALBANY -- Senate Republicans and Democrats are battling over a provision in the Rockefeller drug law reform -- due to take effect June 8 -- that would allow a defendant convicted of a nonviolent, drug-related offense to ask a judge to conditionally seal a court record of the case.
Before the Rockefeller drug law reforms were passed by the Legislature in April, only juvenile defendants could request that a judge seal a criminal record.
The new provision would let judges decide whether to conditionally seal the records of offenders who complete a court-ordered drug treatment program. The provision would allow a judge to seal the record for one felony and up to three misdemeanor charges from a list of 26 types of nonviolent misdemeanor and felony crimes.
The new law requires that the records are only "conditionally sealed," and will be automatically unsealed if the offender is arrested again.
Advocates for the provision say employment is critical to prevent recidivism and that the new policy removes a barrier to work for those who successfully complete drug treatment.