Los Angeles County, California is set to expunge 66,000 cannabis-related convictions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The action includes 62,000 felony convictions and 4,000 misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1961.
District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who filed the motion to erase the convictions with the County Superior Court, said her office went beyond what the cannabis legalization law requires and dismissed felonies for cultivation, transporting, or sales for individuals who hadn’t had a felony conviction in the last 10 years or have completed probation for those convictions.
“What this does is correct that inequity of the past. It gives them a start, a new start.” — Lackey, during a press conference, via the Times
The reforms were part of a partnership with Code for America – a tech firm that also worked with officials in San Francisco to erase 9,362 felony and misdemeanor convictions as far back as 1975. The computer program developed by the organization identifies eligible cases and fills out forms to file with courts and can analyze conviction eligibility for about 10,000 people per minute. Code for America has helped dismiss more than 85,000 cannabis convictions in five counties including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa, according to a Fox News report.
The D.A.’s office is still challenging 2,142 cannabis convictions that it argues are ineligible for relief because of the individual’s criminal history; although those people can still petition to be resentenced, according to the report.
Of some 53,000 people in Los Angeles County who have found relief under the plan, about 45 percent are Latino, 32 percent are African American, 20 percent are white and 3 percent are “other” or unknown.
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