Senate Bill 37(S) -the bill that expands the availability of criminal record expungement for adult criminal records of arrest and conviction – passed the House 35-5-1 in the final week of the session and has already been signed into law by Governor John Carney.
The bill’s prime sponsor, Senator Darius Brown, after the signing: “Many people have waited many years for this historic night. The waiting began long before many of us ever dreamed we would get here[.] [We] have waited for a state law that upholds our common human dignity, that recognizes the value we all bring to this state, that confronts the injustices of tried-and-failed “tough on crime” laws, and that lays out a path to hard-earned second chances and restorative justice.”
“There is still work left to be done tonight, next year, and in the years to come, but we have now sent a clear signal that we are willing to work together to enact ambitious, meaningful, impactful criminal justice reform in Delaware. “
Under the old law, Delaware did 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.
Now, the law provides for a petition process where a former convict can apply for a criminal record expungement for adult criminal records of arrest and conviction. The expungement would only be available for persons with an arrest record or conviction on low-level criminal charges. Further, expungement would be unavailable for a person who already had a previous felony conviction expunged .
WHERE IS THE BILL? Passed the Senate 21-0 and the House 35-5-1. Onto the Governor.
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 – SENATE — Bonini, Brown, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lockman, Lopez, McBride, McDowell, Paradee, Pettyjohn, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh, Wilson ||| HOUSE — Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Briggs King Bush Carson Chukwuocha Collins Cooke Dorsey Walker Griffith Heffernan Hensley Jaques K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Longhurst Lynn Matthews Michael Smith Minor-Brown Mitchell Morris Osienski Postles Q.Johnson Ramone Schwartzkopf Seigfried Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Viola Yearick
NO VOTES – SENATE — None ||| HOUSE — D. Short Dukes Gray Postles Vanderwende
ABSENT – Smyk