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Politics & Government

Senate passes bill to lower barriers to expunging criminal records


State Senators pass legislation to help Delawareans with criminal charges that were never resolved clear their records.

State Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuocha says his bill builds on policies passed last legislative session.

Over 200,000 people applied to have records expunged, but only 1,500 prevailed. Chukwuocha says some people were rejected because of years-old unresolved cases on their record.

"Some of the issues that were coming up were with individuals who had cases on their record with a disposition listed as unknown, unsubstantiated or pending," he said, "and because of that they were being denied."

This measure addresses that issue by allowing cases with no outcome listed to be removed from a person’s record after 7 years.

It would also allow people with multiple misdemeanors from different cases to apply for expungement if the same misdemeanors would be eligible for expungement if linked to the same case.

Chukwuocha says that would save the pardon board from reviewing a stack of applications to expunge minor misdemeanors – and instead review the charges in one application.

The bill passed without opposition.