Valley lawmakers propose bill to clear past crimes from court re - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley lawmakers propose bill to clear past crimes from court records

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Two Valley lawmakers are behind a bill that would make it easier for Ohioans to clear their past crimes from court records.

State Senators Sean J. O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and Michael A. Rulli (R-Salem) are introducing a bill that would allow once-convicted Ohioans to apply for an expungement of their criminal record with the presumption it will be approved, so long as they have not been convicted of further offenses after 20 years for a first-degree felony, 15 years for a second-degree felony or 10 years for third-, fourth- or fifth-degree felonies.

Under the law, prosecutors could object to an application for expungement and would require a judge to consider the entirety of the offender's conduct since their last conviction.

Crimes such as murder, voluntary manslaughter, child abuse, patient abuse, kidnapping, human trafficking, terrorism, domestic violence, and any sexually based offense would be excluded.

"We all know someone who, at age 19 or 20, made one bad decision and was convicted of a crime. But, with no further missteps, that person has had to deal with long-term consequences like the inability to get particular jobs or attain certain public benefits," said Sen. O'Brien. "This bill gives a second chance to folks who made a stupid decision many years ago, but have otherwise lived honest, law-abiding lives."

"People should have the opportunity to try again, make right on their wrongs and be active participants in the workforce,” said Sen. Rulli. “This type of legislation is how we bring people out of the shadows and back into their communities."

The bill will now be assigned to a Senate committee for further consideration.

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