New Illinois law to clear juvenile arrest records (that resulted in no convictions).

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Rahm Touts New Law to Clear Juvenile Police Records
By Ted ? on June 2, 2014 5:21pm

CITY HALL — The mayor joined community leaders and other prominent politicians Monday in cheering a new state law that would automatically expunge the police records of youths arrested but not convicted of non-violent crimes.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis look on as state Sen. Kwame Raoul says, "What expungement means is it didn't happen."

Citing how an arrest report can disqualify a person for a job, a school or college, as well as grants, loans and housing, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a minor can commit "a single mistake ... and then doors begin to close rather than open."

If Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill into law, as expected, then starting next year arrests would automatically be expunged for offenses that are not Class 2 felonies or sexual in nature if there is no petition for delinquency filed and if six months pass without another arrest.

According to Anna Travis of the Mikva Challenge activist agency, 21,000 minors were arrested in 2013 in Cook County, but only 400 went through the existing legal process of having their arrests expunged. She called that process "expensive, confusing and time-consuming."

Emanuel estimated that 16,000 could have had their records expunged — and now will have their records expunged automatically in years to come, adding that the old system only taught youths "how to hire a lawyer."

Calling it "common sense," Emanuel said, "This expungement has a real impact. We don't really want to start young kids on a life of crime, or potential crime, when we can give them another chance."

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago) called the law's passage "a tremendous accomplishment" and applauded sponsors state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago).

"What expungement means is it didn't happen," Raoul said.

Turner said marking "this great piece of legislation" is the next step, noting that beginning next year juvenile offenders can check the Illinois State Police access and review website to make sure their arrests qualify and are actually expunged.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis called passage of the law "a tremendous accomplishment."

Turner said it would "really give juveniles a second chance and an opportunity to be a productive part of society."

Emanuel dismissed the suggestion that his support for the legislation was only meant to appeal to minority voters.

"This is the right thing to do," he said. "If it was popular, somebody else would have done it. This [legislation] actually was dormant for years. ... Nobody for political reasons wanted to touch that."
House votes to expunge minors' arrests if no convictions result
WED, 05/28/2014 - 6:55PM

SPRINGFIELD — The House passed a bill Wednesday that would strike the arrest records of kids who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

The measure passed 74-40 in the House and goes to the Senate.

“Having a single juvenile arrest can impact the ability of youth to successfully compete for education, scholarships, employment and service opportunities later in life,” said the bill’s main sponsor Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago.

Senate Bill 978 would require the Illinois State Police to wipe clean the arrest record each year for those under the age of 18, so long as they weren’t convicted of a crime. However, this does not apply to youth arrested for serious felonies or for sexual crimes.

Turner said the current process to expunge a person’s arrest record is “cumbersome” in that it takes time, money and is subject to all sorts of red tape. Turner said the fact that his bill automatically wipes these records for free will give young people a “fresh start” as they apply for a job or for college.

But Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, wasn’t comfortable with the automatic nature of cleaning the books. He said the state’s attorney’s office should be allowed to object to the expungement, in case there’s an ongoing investigation, as it can currently.

“This is a pretty big change in the way that we run juvenile expungement,” Reboletti said. “I generally support your measure but I have some issues leader with the fact that there is no objection process.”

But Tom Cross, R-Oswego, who said he worked as a prosecutor for nine years, said he couldn’t fault the bill.

“I’ve been very, very strong on anti-crime legislation, but I don’t see a problem with this bill,” Cross said. “Where there’s an arrest but not a charge, why wouldn’t we allow for an expungement? I think this makes a lot of sense.”

Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, said it wasn’t fair to keep un-charged arrests on a record because they imply people are criminals.

“I thought there was due process in the Constitution,” Flowers said. “I thought you were innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. And just because you are arrested, what does that mean? So therefore, an arrest should not be something that was stigmatized of me because anybody could accuse me of anything and I could be arrested for anything.”