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State senator wants automatic “clean slate” for public criminal records

Amit Gupta
flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

One Republican state senator wants some criminal convictions to be automatically scrubbed from public records.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says he plans to introduce the legislation soon after lawmakers return from their three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.

Jones says misdemeanors would no longer appear on criminal records after five years. Low-level, non-violent felonies would go away after eight years. That’s if the person does not commit another crime during that time.

“I think this would really be an advantage for young people trying to find a job as well as the businessmen that want to hire somebody with no liability because they have a clean slate,” said Jones.

Law enforcement officials could still see past convictions under the proposal.

Michigan recently made it easier for people to have their criminal records expunged. But Jones says many people don’t have the time or money to go through that process.

“Expungement can cost many thousands of dollars for an attorney, a lot of time in court,” he said.

Jones pointed to a similar law in Indiana. However, records are not automatically cleared under that law – a person must file a petition to have a court expunge their convictions.

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