New era for expungement reform? Too soon to tell.
A new article in the Harvard Law & Policy Review evaluates some of the recent legislative efforts to deliver relief from the burden of collateral consequences through new or expanded expungement laws. In “A New Era for Expungement Law Reform? Recent Developments at the State and Federal Levels,” Brian Murray argues that many of the newer record-closing laws are far too modest in scope and effect to have much of an impact on the problem of reintegration, citing Louisiana and Maryland enactments as examples of relief that is both too little and too late. He admires Indiana’s broad new expungement scheme, which limits use of records as well as access to them, regarding it (as do we) as an enlightened exception to a general legislative aversion to risk. He considers recent legislation in Minnesota to fall into a middle category — and we could add Arkansas as another state to have recently augmented and clarified older record-closing laws. Our round-up of new expungement laws enacted just this year finds very little consistency from state to state, with Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and New Jersey all experimenting with different approaches.
Murray appreciates the need for a multifaceted approach to the problem of criminal records, and recognizes the doctrinal and practical shortcomings of a reform agenda that depends primarily on concealment. His bottom line, with which we agree, is that “[s]kepticism regarding the benefits of expungement in the information age, coupled with the incremental nature of legislative reform, leads to the conclusion that expungement law must continue to develop as one piece in a larger puzzle.”
- New report: Roundup of 2017 expungement and restoration laws - December 14, 2017
- CCRC files amicus brief in Illinois sex offender case - October 25, 2017
- CCRC publishes California Compilation of Collateral Consequences - October 20, 2017
- California enacts sweeping fair employment law - October 20, 2017
- New report: 50-state guide to expungement and restoration of rights - October 12, 2017
- Clean Slate Clearinghouse goes live - September 29, 2017
- California poised for major change in fair employment law - September 22, 2017
- Nevada’s good sealing law gets better - September 1, 2017
- A closer look at Indiana’s expungement law - August 30, 2017
- “Presidential pardons have lost their true purpose” - August 29, 2017