The Michigan Senate is considering a package of bills (Senate Bills 0065 and 0416) that would allow more Michiganders to expunge their criminal records.
Expand the number of people who qualify for expungement: Under the plan, a person with up to three felonies and any number of misdemeanors could have all their convictions set aside if none were assaultive crimes. Someone with an assaultive crime could have up to two felonies and four misdemeanors set aside. Convictions such as murder and criminal sexual conduct would not be eligible, thus addressing public safety.
Why is expungement so important? These bills would help to eliminate barriers to employment and housing that so many Michiganders face. In fact, it is estimated that this would affect about 100,000 people in Wayne County alone. Some people have records for criminal activity that are no longer considered crimes, such as marijuana possession and manufacture. Some crimes are in the eye of the beholder, such as “resisting arrest.” Instead of petitioning the courts for expungement, after a certain time, many expungements could be made automatic. Criminal records restrict Michiganders opportunities. Giving these people a second chance would enable them to be better contributors to society, and allow them to care for themselves.
What is happening? While the bill package is a huge step forward, our senators could make it better. There are similar bills right now in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Our legislators are hearing from some prosecutors who are not pleased about expungement, unless all restitution is paid. However, employed and housed ex-convicts would more likely be able to pay restitution. If we don’t call, these bills are likely to die in committee.
What can we do? We can call members of the State Senate Judiciary Committee to encourage them to support and improve these expungement bills. Please call:
Peter Lucido: 517-373-7670
Curtis VanderWall: 517-373-1725
Tom Barrett: 517-373-3447
Ruth Johnson: 517-373-1636
Jim Runestad: 517-373-1758
Stephanie Chang: 517-373-7346
Call to State Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Senator________ to support Senate Bills 0065 and 0416, which would allow more Michiganders to expunge their criminal records. I also urge you to improve these bills by making them less restrictive and by making expungement automatic for offenses that are now legal, such as marijuana manufacture or possession. If the state is truly serious about giving Michiganders a second chance, people shouldn’t have to pay and wait for the courts to process the expungement. Thank you.