Marion County courts expect a flood of requests for expungement of criminal convictions and charges after a new law takes effect July 1. Judges on Friday agreed for now those requests should be heard by the judges in courts where the convictions were entered or charges brought.
“Given that we’re expecting several thousand petitions each year, we’re concerned,” Marion Superior Court administrator Andrea Newsom told the court’s Executive Committee.
Newsom presented judges options for handling the requests that will be filed with the clerk’s office beginning next month. Because expungement is a civil proceeding, the committee discussed the merits of filing those petitions in civil division. But Newsom and some judges acknowledged that criminal division judges were interested in ruling on petitions from people who were convicted in their courts, so that’s where the petitions will go until a formal procedure is adopted.
House Enrolled Act 1482 allows records to be sealed and expunged for people arrested but not convicted or if a conviction is vacated on appeal. It also allows people convicted of misdemeanors to petition the court for expungement not earlier than five years after the date of conviction, and for people convicted of Class D felonies to ask for expungement eight years after the date of conviction.
Executive Committee Chairman Judge David Certo said a proposal for processing the petitions will be presented at a later date to civil and criminal court judges. “It’s a difficult matter and we’re going to do the best we can to resolve it,” he said.