Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kentucky fails to pass felony expungement law.

The Kentucky House and Senate adjourned without hearing House Bill 16, the new legislation written by Representative Rob Wilkey. People convicted of felonies in the Commonwealth of Kentucky will still be unable to rejoin working class society.

Currently, only misdemeanors may be expunged according to Kentucky law. House Bill 16 would apply only to "Class D" felonies – which include theft over $300, welfare fraud and drug possession. Crimes against children, violent crimes and sex crimes could not be expunged. The bill would have required the Commonwealth's Attorney to consider all expungement requests and make a recommendation to the court.

Supporters of the bill pointed out it was necessary to give convicts a second chance at life. Employers often refuse to hire ex-cons, they noted.

The bill had a lot of support in the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, but was expected to be defeated in the Republican controlled Senate. The legislature adjourned however without ever voting on House Bill 16.

Text of House Bill 16:
  1. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 533 to allow persons convicted of one Class D felony or a series of Class D felonies arising out of a single event to petition to have their records expunged;
  2. amend KRS 431.078, relating to misdemeanor expungement, to change the application fee from $25 to $50 dollars and to begin the five-year waiting period from the date of adjudication of the offense;
  3. amend KRS 527.040 to exempt individuals who have had their records expunged from the statute on a felon in possession of a firearm;4) create a new section of KRS Chapter 533 require the Administrative Office of the Courts to keep a confidential index of expungement orders for utilization in the preparation of pre-sentence investigations.