Do you support automatically sealing criminal convictions after a period of time?
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the “Clean Slate Act” into law during a ceremony in Brooklyn on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Under the new law, those with misdemeanor convictions will have their records sealed three years after their release from incarceration, while felony convictions will be sealed after eight years.
Class A felonies, which include murder and sex crimes, will not be eligible for automatic sealing.
“It's not often you see law enforcement, criminal justice advocates, unions, and businesses all come together in support of a piece of legislation, but today we got it done,” Hochul said on X, formerly Twitter.
“The Clean Slate Act will give millions of New Yorkers who’ve turned their lives around a second chance.”
The legislation was introduced by State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat whose 20th Senate District includes parts of Brooklyn.
Myrie celebrated its passage in a statement on X, calling the move “a second chance for those who have served their time and paid their debts.”
“It allows them to stabilize themselves with gainful employment, housing and education - which in turn will strengthen their families and communities,” he said.
“It reduces recidivism by offering those with conviction histories a pathway out of the cycle of crime. It grows our economy by expanding our workforce. It addresses the racial disparities that have long plagued our criminal legal system”
Among those criticizing the move is former Congressman and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, who called it “pro criminal” on X.
"In Kathy Hochul's New York, pro-criminal laws have been surrendering our streets to criminals, our law enforcement officers aren't adequately supported, and we remain the only state in the nation that does not allow judges' discretion to weigh dangerousness when setting bail," he said.
New York now becomes the twelfth state to enact a “clean slate” bill. The new law will take effect in November 2024.
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