HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3589        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3721

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Chynah Tyler

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to the expungement of records of marijuana arrests.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Chynah Tyler

7th Suffolk

Michelle M. DuBois

10th Plymouth

Bud L. Williams

11th Hampden

Carlos González

10th Hampden

David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

17th Worcester

Jay D. Livingstone

8th Suffolk

Elizabeth A. Malia

11th Suffolk

Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3589        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3721

By Ms. Tyler of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3721) of Chynah Tyler and others relative to the expungement of records of marijuana arrests.  The Judiciary.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act relative to the expungement of records of marijuana arrests.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

Chapter 276 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding, after section 100O, the following section:-

Section 100O½. (a) Any person having a record of criminal court appearances and dispositions in the commonwealth on file with the office of the commissioner, or the department for a marijuana offense as defined by chapter 94C or other provisions of law committed before the enactment of chapter 334 of the acts of 2016, shall have all such records expunged forthwith from all criminal record information systems collected or distributed by any state agency, court or municipality. Any person with a criminal record eligible for expungement in the commonwealth on file with the office of the commissioner, or the department for a marijuana offense as defined by c. 94C or other provisions of law committed before the enactment of chapter 334 of the acts of 2016, shall have all such records expunged forthwith from all criminal record information systems collected or distributed by any state agency, court or municipality.

(b) When records of criminal appearances and criminal dispositions are expunged by the commissioner or department in their files, the commissioner or department shall notify forthwith the clerk and the probation officer of the courts in which the convictions or dispositions have occurred, or other entries have been made, of such expungement, and said clerks and probation officers likewise shall expunge records of the same proceedings in their files.

(c) Such expunged records shall not operate to disqualify a person in any examination, appointment or application for public service in the service of the commonwealth or of any political subdivision thereof; nor shall such expunged records be admissible in evidence or used in any way in any court proceedings or hearings before any boards or commissions. Anyone with an expunged marijuana record whose license to operate a motor vehicle remains under suspension pursuant to section 22 of chapter 90 or other provision of law, due to a marijuana infraction unrelated to a conviction for operation under the influence, shall have the suspension terminated forthwith, and have their license to operate restored forthwith.

(d) An application for employment used by an employer which seeks information concerning prior arrests or convictions of the applicant shall include the following statement:

“An applicant for employment with an expunged record on file with the commissioner may answer ‘no record’ with respect to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances or convictions. An applicant for employment with an expunged record on file with the commissioner may answer ‘no record’ to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests or criminal court appearances. In addition, any applicant for employment may answer ‘no record’ with respect to any inquiry relative to prior arrests, court appearances and adjudications in all cases of delinquency or as a child in need of services which did not result in a complaint transferred to the superior court for criminal prosecution.”

The attorney general may enforce the provisions of this subsection by a suit in equity commenced in the superior court.

(e) The commissioner or the department, in response to inquiries by authorized persons, shall in the case of an expunged record or in the case of court appearances and adjudications in a case of delinquency or the case of a child in need of services, report that no record exists.

(f) The commissioner of correction, and the sheriffs and masters of all county houses of correction shall forthwith review the sentencing mittimus’ of all prisoners in their custody to identify any prisoner held (i) pursuant to a conviction for a marijuana offense as defined by chapter 94C, committed before the enactment of chapter 334 of the acts of 2016; or (ii) the revocation of probation or parole regardless of the nature of the underlying offense, where the only ground for revocation was the prisoner’s use of marijuana committed before the enactment of chapter 334 of the acts of 2016. Any prisoner so identified shall be reported to the committee for public counsel services, and the district attorney for the county of the sentencing court, along with a copy of the sentencing mittimus. Any prisoner being held only for sentence under an expunged marijuana offense, or held on a probation or parole surrender based only on drug testing or other probation or parole violation regarding the parolee or probationer’s use of marijuana, may apply to the sentencing court for an order of discharge and release. An initial hearing shall be held within ten days of court application, to determine whether any basis other than a marijuana law violation exists for the prisoner’s continued detention. If no other basis exists the prisoner shall be released forthwith at the initial hearing; if other non-marijuana related cause for custody appears to exist, the prisoner may seek a continuance of the initial hearing to further investigate and present evidence regarding a claim that the only basis for the prisoner’s custody is a conviction or probation or parole surrender for the violation of an expunged or other marijuana offense or the prisoner’s use of marijuana while on probation or parole.