O'Brien and Rulli Introduce Criminal Record Expungement Bill
June 10, 2019
Today, state Senators Sean J. O’Brien (D-Bazetta) and Michael A. Rulli (R-Salem) announced a bill to make it easier for Ohioans to expunge past crimes.
“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.”
Under the bill, once-convicted Ohioans would be able 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.
The bipartisan legislation would allow prosecutors to object to an application for expungement and would require a judge to consider the entirety of the offender’s conduct since their last conviction. It excludes from eligibility murder, voluntary manslaughter, child abuse, patient abuse, kidnapping, human trafficking, terrorism, domestic violence and any sexually based offense.
“This isn’t a partisan issue – it is about allowing people to advance their lives with dignity,” said Sen. Rulli. “I am glad to work with Sen. O’Brien on this and other legislation concerning criminal justice issues. People should have the opportunity to try again, make right on their wrongs and be active participants in the workforce. 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.