San Francisco

California Bill Would Seal 8 Million Criminal Convictions

A Northern California lawmaker and district attorney are seeking to automatically clear some 8 million criminal convictions eligible for sealing but remain public records.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and state Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco announced a proposed a bill Thursday. The bill if passed would eliminate the need to hire lawyers and pay court fees to take advantage of an often overlooked California law allowing convicted drunken drivers, burglars and other low-level offenders to seal their records.

Gascon estimates that fewer than 20 percent of eligible cases are cleared and that most eligible offenders are unaware they can seal their criminal records. Gascon says the proposed law would remain in law enforcement data bases, but would bar access to background check agencies and the public.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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