Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey Moves to Wipe 66,000 Marijuana Convictions

"We believe it is the largest effort in California to wipe out old criminal convictions in a single court motion."
(Los Angeles District Attorney, Jackie Lacey Photo via AP)

Los Angeles County courts may soon consider throwing out nearly 66,000 marijuana-related convictions of residents dating back more than 50 years.

What We Know:

  • Los Angeles District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, was the one responsible in asking a judge to dismiss and seal the records of 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases as early as 1961, along with 3,700 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases.
  • Lacey is currently caught in a tight race for the district attorney seat against two other progressive candidates. She called this move a marker of sweeping change that can happen when governments partner with technology leaders.
  • She said in a news conference on Thursday, “We believe it is the largest effort in California to wipe out old criminal convictions in a single court motion”.
  • The move comes about a year and a half after Jackie Lacey agreed to partner with Code for America in a pilot program that uses an algorithm to identify convictions that qualify for re-sentencing or dismissal under the state’s Proposition 64.
  • The voter-approved measure legalized recreational marijuana and mandated re-sentencing for those with felony conviction for the cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, transport of marijuana and dismissing misdemeanor possession charges.

Before the test program, only those who petitioned the court could have their records expunged or sealed. A process long criticized for being complex, expensive, and lengthy. As a result, “only 3% of those eligible for relief under Proposition 64 have received” relief, according to Code for America.

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Javier Garay is an Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.

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