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New law allows for restricted record access for certain crimes

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A change in state law that starts Friday allows non-violent offenders to have their criminal records sealed for misdemeanor and Class D felonies. An Indianapolis man is already filing a petition asking the Marion Superior Court to limit access to records involving two money conversion convictions.

This past session, the General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 121, referred to as the new “second-chance” law. This allows individuals convicted of certain offenses that weren’t violent or sex crimes to request restricted access to arrest and criminal records after eight years since they completed a sentence. The new law’s limited to misdemeanors and Class D felonies, and it only limits access rather than expunging a person’s record completely.

HEA 1211 also allows people to request that limited record access if he or she was not prosecuted, if the charges were dismissed, if acquitted, or if the conviction was later vacated.

If a court grants the request, an individual would not be required to disclose the conviction on employment applications or any other documents outside of the criminal justice system.

The legislation’s co-sponsor, Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, a civil attorney with Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, held a press conference about the new statute outside the City-County Building in Indianapolis where resident Quinn Minor joined him before filing his petition. Minor received two "low-value" convictions in 1997 and 1999, and since completing his home detention and probation sentences, he has had trouble trying to find employment as a result of those being listed on his record.

“I’ve owned my own business, gone back to school, and raised a family with my wife of 13 years,” Minor said. “I paid my dues for these crimes, and I think my family deserves the opportunity to move forward without my old mistakes limiting our future.”

The Indiana State Police is responsible for the general aspect of limiting access to criminal histories, and about two dozen requests had been filed during the past three years through November 2010. A legislative fiscal analysis earlier this year said it wasn’t clear how many people this new law could effect.

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Senate Democrats said they have contaced the Indiana Supreme Court in hopes of having a form created for pro se petitioners.

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  • Dupree file
    I have a class D felony on my record. I was not convicted,but because it shows on my record I can't find a job or enroll in school.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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