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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ind. Law - Expungement: "Second chance law offers a fresh start "

This Dec. 21st story in the Gary Post-Tribune, reported by Michael Gonzalez, is unique in those the ILB has read, in that it doesn't identify the individuals whose records have been expunged. (The ILB has noted previously that such publicity is self-defeating.) Some quotes

CROWN POINT — The Gary woman barely contained her excitement when she learned her adult son may get a second chance to clean up old mistakes.

“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus,” the woman from Gary said Friday. “This shows there’s always another chance for a new beginning.”

The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her family’s privacy, learned her son’s criminal record has been expunged through Indiana’s new Second Chance law, enacted six months ago.

The law allows anyone with misdemeanors, as well as Class D felonies and even some Class C felonies, to apply to have their records cleared and get a fresh start, said Renee Hatcher, a staff attorney with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which also does pro bono legal work in Northwest Indiana.

Hatcher and Valparaiso Law School student and committee intern Crystal Johnson have been operating a Second Chance Help Desk every other Friday in the Lake County Clerk’s office. * * *

Anyone can visit the help desk to learn more about filing a petition seeking to have their criminal records expunged, but the committee will represent only people who meet low-income and moderate-income guidelines, Hatcher said.

Everyone else can file a petition with Lake Superior Court and serve notice to the Lake County Prosecutor’s office. That office will notify anyone deemed a victim of the offenders’ actions. If neither the prosecutor nor the notified victim object, the offender will get the expungement, Hatcher said.

Otherwise, the petition will go before a magistrate for a ruling.

The catch is getting the records actually removed from state and federal databases, Hatcher said. The new Indiana law does not lay out a timeframe for removing those records.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 22, 2013 10:06 AM
Posted to Indiana Law