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New York State’s Top Judge Introduces Sealing Proposal During His Annual State Of The Judiciary Address

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Proposal Echoes Longstanding Work of the NYSBA in Working to Seal Criminal Records in New York State

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York State’s top judge, helped advance the issue of criminal record sealing in New York and highlighted the work of the New York State Bar Association during his State of the Judiciary address on Tuesday – where he announced that he was submitting a draft bill to the Legislature to “make New York’s criminal history record policies fairer and more rational.”  Noting that he was “building on the work of the New York State Bar Association and the Legal Action Center”, he plans to introduce legislation that would expunge a misdemeanor conviction of an individual who has not been re-arrested within 7 years, and would expunge a non-violent felony conviction if the applicant has no previous felony convictions and has not been re-arrested within 10 years (with exceptions made for sex offenses, public corruption and DWI-related offenses.)

The proposal, which echoes and supports the groundbreaking work in this area done by the NYSBA’s Criminal Justice Section Sealing Committee, is another important step in the work being done to change the law when it comes to sealing criminal records in New York.  In addition to supporting the changes in law recommended by the NYSBA through his proposal, Chief Judge Lippman also noted that the court system would be “implementing a new policy regarding the sale of criminal history information” and that “beginning April 1st, when the office of Court Administration responds to requests for electronic searches of criminal record information, it will no longer list misdemeanor convictions of individuals who have no other previous criminal convictions and who have not been rearrested within 10 years of the date of the conviction.”

During his address, Judge Lippman pointed to how “the stigma of a criminal record continues long after a sentence has been served” – and the profound negative effects that a criminal record can have on a person’s future.  As with the work being done by the New York State Bar Association on this issue, the policies introduced yesterday by Judge Lippman echo the importance of giving deserving ex-offenders a fresh start.  In his closing remarks on this issue, in fact, Judge Lippman noted that “Under this new policy, individuals who have led a law-abiding lifestyle will not permanently be burdened by a single misdemeanor conviction, giving them a second chance for a promising future.”

As long-time advocates for criminal record sealing in New York, and with CMG’s Rick Collins serving as the co-chair of the NYSBA’s Criminal Justice Section Sealing Committee, we are excited about yesterday’s developments.  With this critical support from  Chief Judge Lippman, we are more hopeful than ever about the reality of changing the law when it comes to criminal record sealing and expungement in New York, and will continue to work to push this initiative forward (the proposal submitted by the Criminal Justice Section Sealing Committee has been adopted by the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association, endorsed by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and  is awaiting action in Albany.)

We will continue to keep you posted of further developments on the issue of criminal record sealing and expungement in New York.  If you have any questions about criminal record sealing or the status of criminal record sealing in New York, call us 24/7 at 516-294-0300.

To read more about Judge Lippman’s new policy and proposal surrounding criminal record sealing: www.timesunion.com/local/article/Top-judge-to-address-judiciary-5223958.php

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    I hope this passes, having a non violent c-class felony conviction is pretty much a life sentence long after the debt has been paid. A second chance should be considered.

    I was convicted on a non violent crime in 1978 as an 18 yo while in the grips as a teenage alcoholic for a Felony burg in the 3rd. All these years later I have worked with many and have been unable to reduce or remove this conviction prosecuted by a DA’s office and DA who was found guilty on a few criminal charges and disbarred why should we think that they were not as self seeking and criminal when they went after my young PD represented and alcoholic teenage self as an adult and with a felony instead of seeking treatment and a yo charge for this non violent act of drunkeness?
    Thanks
    BPD

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