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[r68] Expungement clean-up bill heads to the Senate
Start Date: 1/24/2014 All Day
End Date: 1/24/2014
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE – A bill updating Indiana's expungement law, known as the Second Chance Law, passed out of the House and will now go to the Senate for further consideration and debate. Co-authored by State Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), authored by State Representative P. Eric Turner (R-Cicero), House Bill (HB) 1155 will delete several inconsistences found in the language and includes new provisions to make the process run more efficiently.

Currently, Indiana’s expungement law allows ex-offenders to eliminate certain non-violent and non-sexual convictions off of their criminal records. Individuals are only eligible for expungement if they have met all the terms of their sentence agreement, and based on the level of the offense; higher level convictions require additional time for a person to be eligible to petition for expungement.

“Since the Second Chance Law went into effect, I have listened to countless testimonies from Hoosiers, many trying to provide for their families or wishing to attend college, that have been discouraged from bettering their lives because of a low-level criminal offense they committed years ago,” said Rep. McMillin. “House Bill 1155 is not an expansion of the current expungement law; rather, it is a bill to update and amend the Indiana Code to address several inconsistences as well as make the overall process run more smoothly.”

With two expungement bills passing, during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions, several inconsistencies were discovered in the Indiana Code. If enacted, HB 1155 would remove those inconsistences, providing uniformity in the code. As the law currently stands, individuals have only one chance to file for expungement during their lifetime, so some individuals were hesitant to file, worrying about making mistakes on their petition. Under HB 1155, if a mistake is made throughout the process, individuals would be able to amend their petition to ensure the request is filed successfully. However, after filing successfully, individuals are still only eligible to file once in their life.

Additionally, petitions for expungement must be submitted to the court in which the charges were filed. As a result, some courts experienced an influx of filings based on their population size. Addressing this issue, HB 1155 would allow individuals to file their petitions in any of the county’s circuit or superior court in which the conviction took place.

Another provision of HB 1155 allows anyone experiencing financial difficulty to appeal to the court’s discretion for a waiver or reduction of their filing fee. In the case of a plea agreement, HB 1155 prohibits a person from waiving their right to expungement as part of that deal. The bill also grants a defense attorney or probation department access to expunged records if authorized by court order.

“After many years of work, I was pleased to lead the charge on getting expungement language put into statute last year. I understand it can be difficult for those with prior convictions to rebuild their lives in our society, and while we should certainly hold them accountable for their actions, those who have made mistakes should not be handcuffed by our justice system forever. Our judicial system isn’t supposed to be strictly punitive. It should be focused on reformation and rehabilitation as a means to reduce recidivism. People make mistakes and once they have paid their debt to society, all they want to do is get on with their lives and provide for their family,” said Rep. Turner. “This law is a positive step forward to improving the lives of Hoosiers.”

Visit www.in.gov/legislative to learn more about HB 1155.

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Contact Information:
Name: Ben Gavelek
Phone: 317-234-9290
Email: ben.gavelek@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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