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Problem: Today, criminal justice reforms only look forward and provide no relief to those already impacted by outdated laws. That means thousands of men, women, and children continue to bear the burden of ineffective policies even as societal values evolve and change. Currently, individuals can not retroactively clear their record of activities society no longer believes should be illegal or for which penalties have been reduced, which means released persons face unreasonable prison time along with barriers to securing housing, jobs, and education.
What this bill does: HB2039 would allow individuals to request a hearing—and possible resentencing—if new laws pass that reduce former criminal penalties in some way. When denying petitions, courts must consider criminal history, disciplinary record, and other evidence related to the risk that petitioners commit new violent felonies. Petitioners may request changes to or sealing of their criminal record should their crimes become recategorized from felony to misdemeanor, or decriminalized entirely.
HB2039 passed the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee. It needs to be considered by the full House, the relevant Senate committee, and the full Senate.
Next action coming soon.