Mayor Bowser Announces Legislative Reforms, 9/14/17
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Mayor Bowser Announces Legislative Reforms, 9/14/17


>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY. I AM VERY HAPPY TO BE HERE WITH
YOU TODAY TO TALK ABOUT A POLICY PROPOSAL THAT OUR ADMINISTRATION
IS WORKING ON. I ALSO WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT
WE’VE BEEN JOINED BY THE COUNCIL’S CHAIRMAN OF THE
COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE, THE WARD 6
COUNCILMEMBER CHARLES ALLEN, SO THANK YOU CHARLES FOR BEING
HERE. AND I AM JOINED BY MEMBERS OF MY
TEAM, KEVIN DONAHUE WHO’S THE DEPUTY MAYOR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
AND JUSTICE, AND BRIAN FERGUSON, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE
MAYOR’S OFFICE OF RETURNING CITIZENS. SO WE ARE HERE TO TALK ABOUT HOW
MORE D.C. RESIDENTS CAN HAVE ACCESS TO A CLEAN SLATE, AND
THEREFORE, A FAIR SHOT AT SUCCEEDING HERE IN WASHINGTON,
D.C. OUR NEW PROPOSAL WOULD HELP TO
KEEP OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM MORE EQUITABLE AND MORE JUST. IT WILL HELP GIVE MORE D.C.
RESIDENT A SECOND CHANCE. SO LET ME GIVE YOU A FEW FACTS. EACH YEAR MORE THAN 40,000
PEOPLE ARE ARRESTED IN D.C. BY LOCAL, OUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
AND BY FEDERAL AGENCIES. AND ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THOSE
ARRESTS ARE NO PAPERED. THIS MEANS THE CASE IS NOT
PROSECUTED, BUT A CRIMINAL RECORD STILL EXISTSAND COULD
FOLLOW THAT PERSON FOR THE REST OF HIS OR HER LIFE. OF THESE PEOPLE 10,000 PEOPLE
SEEK ASSISTANCE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICE AND OTHER
NONPROFIT ASSOCIATIONS TO HAVE THEIR RECORDS SEAL AT THE END
D.C. SUPERIOR COURT. BUT THE PROCESS IS NOT SIMPLE. RIGHT NOW A PERSON MUST FILE A
PETITION WITH THE SUPERIOR COURT THAT ASKS A JUDGE TO ALLOW FOR
THE SEALING OF THEIR RECORD. THE JUDGE THEN HAS THE
DISCRETION TO REJECT HAD PETITION AND THE ENTIRE PROCESS
CAN TAKE UP TO SIX MONTHS. AND THAT IS IF THE PERSON HAS
WAITED THE SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF YEARS BEFORE FILING THEIR
PETITION. SO AGAIN, THE PROCESS IS LONG
AND IT’S NOT EASY AND IT’S NOT AUTOMATIC. IT’S CONSUMING, TIME CONSUMING
AND IT CAN ALSO BE EXPENSIVE. IT ALSO ADOPTS AN OLD AND
OUTDATED LEGAL MINDSET THAT DEMANDS INDIVIDUALS PROVE THEY
DESERVE TO HAVE THEIR RECORDS SEALED. EVEN IF THEY WERE NEVER
PROSECUTED OR FOUND GUILTY OF A CRIME. SO AS A RESULT MANY PEOPLE AVOID
IT. SO WE KNOW THIS ENTIRE PRACTICE
IS INCONSISTENT WITH HER VALUES OF GIVING DESERVING PEOPLE A
SECOND CHANCE. SO TODAY WE ARE PROPOSING
SEVERAL REFORMS THAT WILL HELP TENS OF THOUSANDS OF D.C.
RESIDENTS SEAL THEIR RECORDS AND GET A BETTER CHANCE AT
EMPLOYMENT IN WASHINGTON AND PARTICIPATING IN THE PROSPERITY
OF OUR CITY. SO WE’RE GOING TO TALK TODAY
ABOUT HOW WE WILL, HOW WE PROPOSE TO MANDATE THE AUTOMATIC
SEALING OF RECORDS AS THEY RELATE TO NONCONVICTIONS. RATHER THAN REQUIRE A PERSON TO
FILE A PETITION AND HOPE THAT THE JUDGE AGREES. SECONDLY WE ARE PROPOSING TO
SHORTEN THE AMOUNT OF TIME A PERSON MUST WAIT BEFORE THEY CAN
SEEK TO HAVE THEIR RECORDS SEALED. AND LASTLY WE ARE PROPOSING A
THIRD PARTY REVIEW OF THE TYPES OF CONVICTIONS ELIGIBLE FOR
SEALING BY HAVING AN INDEPENDENT GROUP OF LEGAL EXPERTS PROVIDE
US WITH RECOMMENDATIONS. I AM GOING TO ASK DEPUTY MAYOR
DONAHUE TO TALK MORE ABOUT HOW OUR PROPOSAL, THE WORK THAT WE
HAVE TO DO BEFORE PRESENTING IT TO THE COUNCIL. THEN YOU’LL HEAR FROM DIRECTOR
FERGUSON AND COUNCILMAN ALLEN.>>GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE. LET ME PROVIDE SOME BACKGROUND
ON WHAT RECORD SEALING MEANS AND MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE PROPOSAL
THE MAYOR IS LAYING OUT. SO LET ME START WITH SOME FACTS. SO EVERYONE WHO IS ARRESTED HAS
A RECORD. IN THE DISTRICT WE ESTIMATE THIS
IS ONE IN FOUR OF RESIDENTS HAVE OR HAVE HAD AN ARREST RECORD AT
ONE POINT. CURRENTLY SOMEONE WHO IS
ARRESTED BUT NEVER CONVICTED AS THE MAYOR SAYS NO MATTER WHAT
THE CHARGES CAN GET THEIR RECORDS SEALED BUT THEY MUST
WAIT OFTEN SEVERAL YEARS TO DO SO AND PETITION THE COURT. SEALING A RECORD MEANS AN
INDIVIDUAL’S ARREST OR CONVICTION IF IT’S ELIGIBLE
CANNOT BE ACCESSED PUBLICLY. IT DOES REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR LAW
ENFORCEMENT COURTS AND SOME VERY SELECTED PROFESSIONS AND
EMPLOYERS THAT DEAL WITH SPECIAL POPULATIONS SUCH AS CHILDREN,
BUT GENERALLY, IT IS NOT PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE. FOR ANY FELONY OR MISDEMEANOR
NONCONVICTION, SO SOMEONE ARRESTED BUT NOT CONVICTED, THAT
PERSON HAS TO WAIT UP TO FOUR YEARS TO REQUEST THAT THEIR
RECORD BE SEALED. EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NOT A
CONVICTION. FOR AN ELIGIBLE CONVICTION, SO
SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED, DEPENDING ON THE CHARGE, SOME
CHARGES ARE NEVER ELIGIBLE FOR SEALING, THOSE THAT ARE, AN
INDIVIDUAL MUST WAIT UP TO EIGHT YEARS BEING CONVICTION FREE
AFTER THE END OF THEIR SENTENCE OR SUPERVISION SO THAT GIVES YOU
SOME SENSE OF WHAT THE CURRENT CONTEXT IS. AS THE MAYOR SAID, OUR LAWS ARE
OUTDATED, OUR VALUES SYSTEMS HAVE PROGRESSED, AND THE MAYOR
WANTS OUR LAWS TO BE REFLECTED WHAT OUR VALUE SYSTEMS ARE AND
WHAT RESEARCH HAS DEMONSTRATED EVERYWHERE THAT RECORDS HOLD
PEOPLE BACK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO MOVE FORWARD AND DO NOT HAVE AN
IMPACT ON PUBLIC SAFETY AND IN FACT CAN NEGATIVELY IMPACT
PUBLIC SAFETY IF SOMEONE HAS A RECORD THAT DOES NOT LET THEM
GET EMPLOYMENT IN WHICH THEY ARE REASONABLY ENTITLED TO. SO WHAT WE’RE PROPOSING AS THE
MAYOR MENTIONED IS FOUR BROAD GOALS. FIRST IS TO ELIMINATE THE
ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN ON INDIVIDUALS BY MAKING RECORD
SEALING FOR NO PAPERS AND NONCONVICTIONS AUTOMATIC. AUTOMATICALLY DONE BY SUPERIOR
COURT. NOW THIS IS A COMPLICATED ISSUE,
AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THE COURTS TO DO THIS AS AN
EXPEDITIOUS WAY. SECOND, TO REDUCE THE WAITING
TIMES PEOPLE HAVE TO WAIT, AND FOR THOSE WITH NONCONVICTIONS TO
DRASTICALLY REDUCE OR ELIMINATE THOSE WAITING PERIODS. AND FINALLY AS THE MAYOR
MENTIONED, HAVE AN INDEPENDENT LEGAL EXPERTS LOOK AT WHAT IS
NOW A LIST OF CONVICTIONS IN WHICH SOMEONE’S NEVER ELIGIBLE
FOR SEALING. THAT CURRENT LIST CURRENTLY
INCLUDES THINGS THAT ARE VERY VIOLENT IN NATURE BUT ARE ALSO
INCLUDES A NUMBER OF NONVIOLENT MISDEMEANORS AND FELONIES THAT
IF SOMEONE IS CONVICTED OF IT, IT CAN NEVER BE SEALED AGAIN. SO WE KNOW FROM TALKING TO
PEOPLE IN THE CITY THAT THE EXISTENCE OF A CRIMINAL RECORD
NO MATTER HOW OLD OR HOW MANY YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE
ARREST OCCURRED CAN HOLD SOMEONE BACK FROM GETTING A JOB, GETTING
HOUSING, GETTING ACCESS TO CREDIT. THIS IS ALSO NOT AN ISSUE UNIQUE
TO D.C. AS MANY AS ONE IN THREE U.S.
ADULTS HAVE HAD AT SOME POINT A RECORD OF AN ARREST. AND D.C. AND OTHER STATES AND
CITIES ARE NOW LOOKING AT REVISING OUR SEALING LAWS. SO IN THE COMING WEEKS, WE’LL BE
WORKING WITH COUNCILMEMBERS OR CRIMINAL JUSTICE PARTNER AT THE
LOCAL AND FEDERAL LEVELS AND ADVOCATES ON CRAFTING
LEGISLATION THAT STAYS TRUE TO THE POLICY FRAMEWORK THAT THE
MAYOR HAS LAID OUT AND I’M GRATEFUL FOR MAYOR BOWSER FOR
COMING FORWARD AND STARTING THIS CONVERSATION.>>THANK YOU. THANK YOU, DEPUTY MAYOR DONAHUE
AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO YOU, MAYOR BOWSER FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP
ON THIS ISSUE, AND FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF THE
DISTRICT’S RETURNING CITIZENS. I’M PROUD TO LIVE IN A CITY AND
WORK FOR AN ADMINISTRATION WHOSE D.C. VALUES DRIVE IT TO
PRIORITIZE AND TO ACTIVELY SEEK THE REMOVAL OF BARRIERS TO
SUCCESS FOR ALL D.C. RESIDENTS, ESPECIALLY RETURNING CITIZENS. THESE PROPOSED RECORD SEALING
REFORMS WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN
BOTH INSIDE THE DISTRICT AND OUTSIDE WHOSE ARREST RECORDS ARE
CURRENTLY HOLDING THEM BACK FROM BEING ABLE TO POTENTIALLY OBTAIN
EMPLOYMENT, PROFESSIONAL LICENSING, EDUCATION OR HOUSING
OFTEN WITHOUT A CONVICTION. THE REFORMS PROPOSED TODAY ARE
FOR THE YOUNG MOTHER OF TWO IN WARD 5 THAT CALLED MY OFFICE TWO
WEEKS AGO BECAUSE SHE HAD BIB TERMINATED AFTER HER EMPLOYER
CONDUCTED A RETROACTIVE BACKGROUND CHECK AND FOUND A
SINGLE MARIJUANA POSSESSION ARREST FROM 2014 FOR WHICH SHE
ONLY RECEIVED COMMUNITY SERVICE. THEREFORE, VERY GOOD FRIEND OF
MINE WHO WAS HAVING A TERRIBLE TIME TRYING TO RENEW HIS HOME
HEALTH AIDE VIOLENCE BECAUSE OF A FIGHT HE WAS ARRESTED FOR BUT
NEVER CONVICTED OVER SIX YEARS AGO. THESE REFORMS ARE FOR ALL OF THE
RESIDENT DISTRICTS 1 THROUGH 8 WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE TO
ENDURE A LONG AND VERY CONFUSING PROCESS IN ORDER TO SEAL A
CRIMINAL RECORD THAT HAS NO BEARING OR REFLECTION ON WHO
THEY ARE NOW OR WHAT THEY SEEK TO BECOME IF GIVEN THE CHANCE TO
PLAY ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. THE REFORMS PROPOSED BY MAYOR
BOWSER TODAY WILL FOR THOUSANDS SEEK TO LEVEL THEIR PLAYING
FILED AND PREVENT THE COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES THAT ALL TOO OFTEN
COME ALONG WITH HAVING A CRIMINAL RECORD. COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES THAT CAN
UNFORTUNATELY LAST A LIFETIME IF WE DON’T DO WHAT’S RIGHT SO
THAT’S WHY ONCE AGAIN MAYOR I COMMEND YOU ON YOUR LEADERSHIP
OF THE RETURNING CITIZEN COMMUNITY AND WE THANK YOU AND
ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS BECOMING LAW.>>THANK YOU AND GOOD AFTERNOON. I WANT TO GIVE THE MAYOR A LOT
OF CREDIT HERE. THESE ARE DIFFICULT
CONVERSATIONS OR TOUGH CONVERSATIONS, BUT I AM VERY
GRATEFUL THAT SHE AND HER WHOLE TEAM WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
REALLY TRYING TO THINK THIS THROUGH. YOU KNOW I HEARD DIRECTOR
FERGUSON REALLY PUT A HUMAN TOUCH AND HUMAN FACE TO THE
CONSEQUENCES HERE. WHEN I THINK ABOUT MY JOB AND
THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY AND PUBLIC SAFETY, THOSE TWO ASPECTS
THERE, JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY. WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE
THOUSANDS OF OUR D.C. NEIGHBORS WHO ARE TRYING TO ARE ENTER AND
RE-ENTER SUCCESSFULLY, WE KNOW THE BARRIERS EXIST AND I THINK
WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO IS OUTLINE SOLUTIONS, WHETHER IT’S
A JOB, WHETHER IT’S HOUSING, WHETHER IT’S EDUCATION, WE KNOW
THAT FOR THAT INDIVIDUAL, IF WE CAN REMOVE THOSE BARRIERS THEY
WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL AND FROM A PUBLIC SAFETY PERSPECTIVE WHEN
THEY ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL WE KNOW THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO REOFFEND
AND THEY HAVE A SAFER COMMUNITY AND A SAFER CITY. THIS IS IN RIGHT STEP TO BE
TAKING. THERE ARE A COUPLE BILLS. AS CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE THIS
FALL I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO HOLD A HEARING WORKING WITH THE
MAYOR AND HER TEAM TO HELP THINK THROUGH HOW WE MOVE FORWARD WITH
THIS BUT THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT’S TIMELY, IT’S IMPORTANT, I GIVE
YOU A LOT OF CREDIT AND I APPRECIATE YOUR LEADERSHIP
WORKING ON THIS.>>THANK YOU, COUNCILMAN. THANK YOU. OKAY, WE’LL TAKE ANY QUESTIONS. WE’LL START WITH THE PRESS. ON TOPIC. YES, PETER.>>IN 2015 — FACING CERTAIN
HOMICIDES — MAKE IT EASIER FOR ORDINARY CITIZENS TO TRACK
CRIMINAL CASE. — HOLDING EACH CASE
ACCOUNTABLE FOR VIOLENCE ON THE STREETS. HOW DO YOU SQUARE THAT NOW WITH
PROPOSING TO SEAL THOUSANDS OF COURT DOCUMENTS THAT COULD BE
USED TO –>>WELL, CERTAINLY, PETER. WE’RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING
THAT WOULD PREVENT US FROM HOMING ANY PART OF OUR SYSTEM
ACCOUNTABLE AND CERTAINLY THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO DO THAT. I THINK YOU KNOW THAT WE HAVE
BEEN VERY FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE WE CAN HOLD OUR POLICE
ACCOUNTABLE, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH BODY CAMERAS, INDEPENDENT POLICE
COMPLAINTS BOARD, AND WE ENCOURAGE OUR RESIDENTS TO AVAIL
THEMSELVES OF IT. WE HAVE WORKED WITH OUR CJCC FOR
EXAMPLE IN I’LL GET THE POST A LOT OF CREDIT FOR GETTING INTO
SOME RECORDS THAT WERE HARDER TO FIND. AS IT RELATES TO CONVICTIONS AND
SENTENCING, ASK WE’RE STILL WANTING TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
CONVICTIONS AND SENTENCING ARE WE HOLD EVERYBODY IN THE SYSTEM
ACCOUNTABLE FOR THAT. WE DO ALSO HOWEVER KNOW THAT
BOTH JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY ARE SERVED WHEN PEOPLE ARE NOT
HELD BACK FROM EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING AND ACCESS TO CREDIT. AND OUR PURPOSE HERE TODAY IS TO
MAKE SURE ESPECIALLY WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT THE
NONCONVICTIONS, NONCHARGES, AND WE’RE GOING TO ASK A GROUP OF
INDEPENDENT THINKERS TO HELP US THINK THROUGH THE CONVICTION. SO THE, INCLUDING MISDEMEANORS
AND FELONIES TO SEE IF SOME ELIGIBLE CRIME SHOULD BE ADDED
TO THAT LIST THAT THE COULD ALSO BE CONSIDERED FOR SEALING. YES, SAM.>>I HEARD DEPUTY MAYOR TALKING
ABOUT THERE WAS SOME CASES WHERE THE CRIMES WEREN’T THAT
SIGNIFICANT, BUT THEY COULDN’T GET THE RECORD EXPUNGED. WHAT CASES ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?>>WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SEALING. AND THERE ARE MANY MISDEMEANORS
THAT ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SEALING AND SOME, I AM GOING TO ASK
KEVIN TO TALK ABOUT THOSE. THERE ARE DOZENS, BUT.>>SO THE WAY TO THINK ABOUT
THIS IS THINKING IN TWO GROUPS. THERE ARE FOLKS WHO HAVE A
RECORD THAT WERE NEVER CONVICTED, AND RIGHT NOW THEY
CAN ALL GET THEIR RECORDS SEALED BUT THEY HAVE TO WAIT YEARS AND
GO THROUGH HURDLES. WE WANT TO ELIMINATE THE TIME
FRAME AND MAKE IT AUTOMATIC. FOR THOSE WHO WERE CONVICTED,
THERE’S A LIST OF OFFENSES FOR CONVICTIONS IN WHICH YOU’RE
NEVER ELIGIBLE TO SEAL THE RECORD NO MATTER HOW, NO MATTER
WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE AFTER SERVING TIME. RIGHT NOW THE FELONIES, THERE’S
ONLY ONE FELONY IN WHICH IT’S EVER ELIGIBLE TO BE SEALED AND
THAT’S FELONY FAILURE TO APPEAR. SO FELONY DRUG POSSESSION, ALL
THE WAY THROUGH MORE SERIOUS OFFENSES ARE NEVER CURRENTLY
EVER ELIGIBLE TO SEAL IF YOU’RE CONVICTED. THE MISDEMEANORS, THERE’S A LIST
OF WHAT’S CALLED MISDEMEANORS WHERE IF YOU’RE CONVICTED AND WE
CAN GIVE YOU A COPY OF THAT LIST FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS IT LATER
YOU KNOW LET US KNOW AFTER THIS, BUT THIS IS A FEW DOZEN
CONVICTED OF THE CRIMES YOU CAN’T HAVE THOSE SEALED. THERE ARE A LOT OF VIOLENT
MISDEMEANORS BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF NONVIOLENT MISDEMEANORS AS
WELL. FOR EXAMPLE DEFRAUDING A UTILITY
COMPANY. A BUILDING CODE VIOLATION
ACTUALLY. THERE ARE THINGS THAT REALLY
SURPRISED US WHEN WE LOOKED AT THE LIST OF WHAT FOR SOMEONE
CONVICTED OF THAT YOU ARE NEVER ELIGIBLE TO HAVE IT SEALED SO
WHAT THE MAYOR DECIDED IS THAT RATHER THAN US PICK AND CHOOSE
PERHAPS AND HAVE DISAGREEMENT LET’S HAVE A GROUP OF LEGAL
EXPERTS LOOK AT THIS WITH THE LENS OF WHAT WE KNOW FROM
RESEARCH AND OUR OWN VALUES IN 2017 AND SEE HOW AND WHERE WE
CAN UPDATE THAT LIST SO THAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONVICTIONS HAVE
MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE THOSE SEALED.>>TOM?>>WHERE IS THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S
OFFICE ON THIS? I’M ASSUMED YOU’VE TALKED WITH
IT. SOMETIMES THEY SAY THEY DON’T
PROSECUTE A CASE WHERE THEY SHOULD HAVE, IT WAS QUITE
SERIOUS BUT THEY MAYBE MISSED SOME EVIDENCE AND THEN THAT CASE
IS SEALED. THEY STILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE
RECORDS, IS THAT CORRECT?>>YES, THEY WOULD STILL HAVE
ACCESS TO SEALED RECORDS. [INAUDIBLE]
THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AT ALL?>>WELL, WE’RE KIND OF EARLY IN
THE PROCESS OF REACHING OUT TO ALL OF OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT
PARTNERS, U.S. ATTORNEY, OUR ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO’S
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROSECUTION OF FOR MINORS, AND THE COURT
SYSTEM WILL BE ACTIVE PLAYER, POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND SO WE
WILL HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY CERTAINLY AMONG US AS WE DEVELOP
THE PROPOSAL. WITH OUR RETURNING CITIZENS,
COMMUNITY, OUR HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF
PLAYERS WHO WE EXPECT TO WEIGH IN ON THE FINAL DRAFT.>>I MAY HAVE MISSED IT.
IS THERE A JURISDICTION, A STATE, OR ARE ANOTHER
SIGNIFICANT PLACE THAT IS DOING WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO?>>YES, WE THINK WE ARE
CERTAINLY ON THE FOREFRONT OF RESTORING THE ABILITY OF OUR
CITIZENS TO GET JOBS AND HOUSING AND ACCESS TO CREDIT, BUT WE’RE
NOT THE FIRST. ACTUALLY JUST YESTERDAY THE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA MOVED VERY AGGRESSIVE AND PROGRESSIVE
RECORD SEALING LEGISLATION. IT WAS APPROVED. HOLD ON. ANYTHING OFF, ANY OTHER
QUESTIONS? ALL QUESTIONS. I’M AVAILABLE FOR ALL QUESTIONS. YES?>>WILL MARIJUANA BE ONE OF
THOSE SEALABLE CRIMES?>>FOR MISDEMEANORS, AND I DON’T
KNOW WHERE IT STANDS PRESENTLY, SO LET ME ASK KEVIN IF IT’S ONE
OF THOSE INCLUDED MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION THAT’S ELIGIBLE. IT WILL CERTAINLY BE TOPIC OF
CONVERSATION. FELONY DRUG POSSESSION WE’RE
GOING TO PUT THAT IN FRONT OF THE GROUP TO GIVE US SOME
RECOMMENDATIONS.>>I BELIEVE THAT CURRENTLY
MARIJUANA POSSESSION IS ELIGIBLE FOR RECORD. SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA
POSSESSION ARE ELIGIBLE FOR RECORD SEALING. LARGER AMOUNT ARE NOT IF YOU’RE
CONVICTED. SO WHAT WE’RE PROPOSING IS WE
KNOW WE WANT THE WAITING TIME TO BE REDUCED. AND THERE ARE OFFENSES WHEN WE
LOOKED AT THEM THAT WE’D HAVE TO LOOK AT BUT WE WANT AN
INDEPENDENT GROUP TO LOOK AT PROBABLY THE LOWER HANGING FRUIT
AND ALSO LOOK AT THINGS THAT WOULD STRETCH US, SO THAT’S WHAT
THE ROLE OF FORMING THAT GROUP IS TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE LIST AND
SEE WHAT OFFENSES.>>I HAVE BEEN HOME FOR OVER 20
YEARS AND I BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO’VE BEEN DOING GREAT
THINGS IN THE COMMUNITY, I HAVE A FELONY DRUG CHARGE. MY CASE SHOULD BE SEALED. AND IT’S STOPPING ME FROM DOING
LOT OF THINGS IN MY LIFE, SO I THINK PEOPLE WHO’VE COME HOME
AND THEY HAVE ADDED VALUE TO OUR COMMUNITY, I THINK THEY SHOULD
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT PEOPLE WHO HAVE FELONY CONVICTIONS WHO
AREN’T A THREAT AND DIDN’T EVEN COMMIT AN ACT OF VIOLENCE. THOSE OFFENSES, MY CHARGE IS NOT
SEALABLE. SO I THINK THAT’S SOMETHING
DEFINITELY SHOULD TAKE A LOOK AT.>>THANK YOU. OKAY, DO YOU WANT TO SAY
SOMETHING?>>I DID. I WANTED TO THANK YOU —
[INAUDIBLE]>>>I’LL REPEAT IT.>>I WANT TO COMMEND YOU AND
YOUR STAFF FOR THE WORD YOU CHOSE. CLEAN SLATE. CLEAN SLATE. [INAUDIBLE]
THIS IS WHERE THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE COMES BECAUSE
WE SERVE A GOD OF A SECOND CHANCE AND THIRD CHANCE, AND A
FOURTH CHANCE, AND SO THAT ALLOWS INDIVIDUALS TO COME BACK
AND BE GREAT CITIZENS AND BE A PART OF THIS PROCESS. AND SO FROM THE COMMUNITY, THOSE
OF US WHO’VE SHOWN UP TODAY, WE WERE REALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE
CLEAN SLATE YOU ARE OFFERING FOR THOSE CITIZENS IN THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA SO WE WANT TO THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU, REV, I APPRECIATE
THAT. AND I ALSO WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE
JUST THE GREAT WORK OF THE MAYOR’S COMMISSION ON RELIGIOUS
AFFAIRS FOR COMING TOGETHER AROUND FOR WHAT PROBABLY NONE OF
US EXPECTED BUT HOW TO DEFEND D.C. VALUES AS IT RELATES TO
FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE PROTECTION OF OUR DIVERSITY. BUT LET ME PUT A FINE POINT ON
WHY WE ARE HERE. BRIAN TALKED ABOUT THIS. WE GO AROUND THE CITY ALL DAY
EVERY DAY IN ALL EIGHT WARDS, AND WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE WHO NEED
WORK AND WANT TO WORK. SOME FOLKS HAVE MADE MISTAKES,
AND THEY HAVE PAID THE PRICE FOR IT, BUT THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO
PAY THE PRICE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. AND WE KNOW WHEN PEOPLE GET BACK
TO WORK, THEIR CHILDREN DO BETTER IN SCHOOL, THEY’RE
HEALTHIER, AND WE INCREASE OUR OPPORTUNITIES OF HAVING JUST
PEACEFUL NEIGHBORHOODS IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD IN WASHINGTON, D.C. IT IS NOT AN UNCOMPLICATED
PROCESS AS I HOPE THAT YOU GATHERED FROM OUR DISCUSSION,
BUT WE KNOW THAT WE’RE GOING ABOUT IT AND WE WILL GO ABOUT IT
IN A THOUGHTFUL WAY. OUR GOALS ARE TO MAKE SURE THAT
PEOPLE HAVE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GET A FAIR SHOT IN THIS TOWN. WE WILL NEVER, EVER PROPOSE
ANYTHING THAT WE THINK WOULD BE A DETRIMENT TO THE PUBLIC SAFETY
OF WASHINGTON, D.C. SO LET ME THANK YOU FOR COMING. AND WE’RE GOING TO NEED YOU, YOU
HEARD THE COUNCILMEMBER SAY WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A HEARING SO
WE ARE GOING TO NEED YOU TO BE AN ACTIVE PART OF THIS
DISCUSSION. THANK YOU. YEAH?>>THERE IS NO LEGISLATION, YET,
IS THAT CORRECT?>>THAT’S CORRECT, YES, VERY
SOON. THIS MONTH. WE’LL PRESENT IT. ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU, EVERYBODY.

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