Sen. Darius Brown’s bill expanding criminal record expungement to adults has passed the Senate unanimously, 21-0, but not before being amended. Ah, that crafty amending Senate.
First, let’s remind ourselves of what the bill as originally drafted does.
Right now, under current law, Delaware does not allow expungement for adults. Indeed, the only way an adult could get an arrest record expunged is if the arrest never led to a conviction. And the only way a conviction record can be expunged is if the Governor had pardoned the person. Over the last few years, Delaware has expanded the availability of expungements for juveniles. This particular bill sponsored by Sen. Darius Brown and Rep. Sean Lynn would expand the availability of criminal record expungement for adult criminal records of arrest and conviction. The bill would only apply to persons with an arrest record or conviction on low-level criminal charges a process to expunge those records or convictions so as to give them more opportunity regarding jobs and housing.
The Amendment does the following: (1) Makes an individual ineligible for an expungement of a felony offense if the individual has previously had a felony conviction expunged. (2) Makes two misdemeanor offenses eligible for expungement only through the the discretionary process, regardless as to whether the offenses are a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (Sexual Harassment, under § 763 of Title 11, and Indecent Exposure in the First Degree, under § 765 of Title 11). (3) Removes two misdemeanor offenses from the definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence because they are not subject to mandatory expungement under other provisions of this Act (Incest, under § 766 of Title 11, and Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Third Degree, under § 767 of Title 11) and adds one misdemeanor offense to the definition (Harassment, under § 1311 of Title 11). (4) Makes additional misdemeanor offenses eligible for expungement only through the discretionary expungement process. (5) Moves the Attorney General’s responsibilities for notifying a victim of a discretionary expungement petition to the discretionary expungement provision.
So some musical chairs regarding which misdemeanors involving domestic or sexual assault are eligible, and that seems ok to me. The “You already had your second chance” rule seems reasonable too. If you have already had one felony expunged and then committed a second felony, obviously you are not the type of person this bill is meant for.
WHERE IS THE BILL? Passed the Senate 21-0. Onto the House.
DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Brown, McBride, Townsend, Lynn, Longhurst, Dorsey-Walker, Cooke, Hansen, Lockman, Paradee, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh, Baumbach, Bolden, Brady, Chukwuocha, Heffernan, Jaques, K.Johnson, Kowalko
REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – Delcollo
YES VOTES – Bonini, Brown, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lockman, Lopez, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Pettyjohn, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh, Wilson
NO VOTES – None.