Los Angeles and San Joaquin county prosecutors announced a plan Monday to automatically clear more than 50,000 marijuana-related convictions eligible for reconsideration in light of the state's legalization of pot under Proposition 64.
District attorneys from both counties said they will partner with nonprofit Code for America, which has developed a computerized system known as Clear My Record that quickly identify cannabis convictions eligible to be cleared. There are about 50,000 such cases in Los Angeles County, and 4,000 in San Joaquin County, authorities said.
"As technology advances and the criminal justice system evolves, we as prosecutors must do our part to pursue innovative justice procedures on behalf of our constituents," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. "This collaboration will improve people's lives by erasing the mistakes of their past and hopefully lead them on a path to a better future.
"Helping to clear that path by reducing or dismissing cannabis convictions can result in someone securing a job or benefiting from other programs that may have been unavailable to them in the past," Lacey said.
Authorities in San Francisco recently partnered with Code for America and cleared more than 8,000 cannabis-related convictions.
Prosecutors noted that previously, people convicted of marijuana-related crimes needed to petition the court to have their records cleared, beginning what was often a long, expensive process. The Code for America system will "automatically and securely evaluate eligibility for record-clearance by reading and interpreting conviction data in just a few minutes," according to Lacey's office.
"When we do this right, we show that government can make good on its promises, especially for the hundreds of thousands who have been denied jobs, housing and other opportunities despite the passage of laws intended to provide relief," said Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America. "Clear My Record changes the scale and speed of justice and has the potential to ignite change across the state and the nation."