Expungement wait-time case set for Thursday oral arguments

Editor’s note: This article has been revised to replace references to the expungement plaintiff’s name with his initials after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

The Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral argument this week in a criminal expungement case that has previously divided the Indiana Court of Appeals about when the trigger date for five-year expungement waiting periods should begin.

Justices granted transfer in the case of  N.G. v. State of Indiana, 19S-XP-673 in December. In that case, N.G. unsuccessfully petitioned for an expungement of his 2006 conviction of Class D felony theft. Prior to seeking the expungement in 2018, N.G.’s felony conviction was converted to a class A misdemeanor in 2016.

The Elkhart Superior Court denied N.G.’s expungement petition, reasoning that the five-year waiting period for a misdemeanant to petition for expungement had not yet been completed. The COA split on the issue, however, with the majority affirming the trial court and concluding the trigger date is the date the conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor, rather than the date of the original conviction.

Judge John Baker dissented, saying the majority’s position leads to an illogical result.

Arguments in the case will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom.

Also on Thursday, the court will hear arguments in The City of New Albany v. Board of Commissioners of the County of Floyd, et al., and on petition to transfer in In the Matter of R.L.

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