Expungements Expanded in Maryland

October 5, 2015

People who've found themselves in trouble with the law are getting a second chance due to three new laws taking effect on October 1st 2015.


A new law is on the books that expands expungements and people are taking advantage of it.


People lined up outside New Psalmist Baptist Church for a chance to talk to legal experts about changing their lives. Todd Eller was among them with a pot possession charge from 2008.


"I'm unemployed, so I know it's going to come up in a background check, which it has before. Some employers are very concerned with that so if I have a chance to get it shielded or expunged, it would be good for me personally," Eller said.


At the clinic, residents are finding out if they have a conviction that can be shielded, meaning it's taken away from the public view, but not law enforcement.


Legal aid attorney Michael Stubenberg helped advise many of those who came.


"The potential is well over 1 million expungable cases exist in Maryland. Last year, in Baltimore City alone, there were at least 19,0000 expungable cases produced," Stubenberg said.


Experts said the new rules could help many people facing barriers to housing and jobs, especially those with an arrest record, but never found guilty of the alleged crime.


"They may not have served a day in jail. They didn't have a trial, but yet they have a criminal record as a result of a charge that did not result in a guilty (verdict). Employers, unfortunately, would use that against you. It doesn't matter if you have a guilty (verdict), if you have a record that's all they need to know," said Caryn Aslan, a Job Opportunity Task Force member.


So what cases are eligible for expungement?


"A stet, null pros, not guilty, a dismissal all of those are generally expungable with some other caveat. It's only if you receive guilty. It's not likely expungable," Stubenberg said.


Article provided by Lisa Robinson, WBAL11 http://www.wbaltv.com/politics/new-maryland-law-expands-expungements/35602960


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