Changes to Marijuana-Related Expungements (Part 19)

by | Mar 11, 2020 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, Marijuana, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The amendments to N.J.S.A 2C:52-6 continue:

b. Notwithstanding the provisions concerning the ten-year time requirement, if, at the time of application, a court-ordered financial assessment subject to collection under the comprehensive enforcement program established pursuant to P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-1 et al.) is not yet satisfied due to reasons other than willful noncompliance, but the time requirement of ten years is otherwise satisfied, the person may submit the expungement application and the court shall grant an expungement in accordance with this section; provided, however, that at the time of the expungement the court shall enter a civil judgment for the unpaid portion of the court-ordered financial assessment in the name of the Treasurer, State of New Jersey and transfer collection and disbursement responsibility to the State Treasurer for the outstanding amount in accordance with section 8 of P.L.2017, c.244 (C.2C:52-23.1). The Treasurer may specify, and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall collaborate with, the technical and informational standards required to effectuate the transfer of the collection and disbursement responsibilities.  Notwithstanding any provision in this law or any other law to the contrary, the court shall have sole discretion to amend the judgment.  

c. No expungement applications may be filed pursuant to this section after the establishment of the automated ”clean slate” process pursuant to subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.   (C.   )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).


8. (New section) Automated “clean slate” process.  a. (1) The State shall develop and implement an automated process, based, to the greatest extent practicable, on the recommendations of the task force established pursuant to subsection b. of this section, by which all convictions, and all records and information pertaining thereto, shall be rendered inaccessible to the public, through sealing, expungement, or some equivalent process, for any person who has been convicted of one or more crimes, one or more disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses, or a combination of one or more crimes and offenses under the laws of this State, unless the person has a conviction for a crime which is not subject to expungement pursuant to subsection b. or c. of N.J.S.2C:52-2, upon the expiration of a period of ten years from the date of the person’s most recent conviction, payment of any court-ordered financial assessment, satisfactory completion of probation or parole, or release from incarceration, whichever is later.  The term “court-ordered financial assessment” as used herein means and includes any fine, fee, penalty, restitution, and other form of financial assessment imposed by the court as part of the sentence for the conviction or convictions that are subject to being rendered inaccessible to the public, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.  (2) The automated process shall be designed to restore a person’s convictions and other information contained in the person’ criminal history record information files if the person is subsequently convicted of a crime, for which the conviction is not subject to expungement pursuant to subsection b. or c. of N.J.S.2C:52-2.  A prosecutor may submit the restored criminal history record information to the court for consideration at sentencing for the subsequent conviction.

Language concerning sub-section (b)8 becoming operative 180 days after enactment was removed from the final version. That period was reduced to 90 days. The mechanisms by which expunged criminal convictions are to be privately maintained raise concerns about unintended public access to them in the event of a data breach. While it is a criminal offense to disclose the existence of an expunged record, data breaches tend to happen anonymously. This makes it difficult to identify the offender(s).