Changes to Marijuana-Related Expungements (Part 25)

by | Mar 23, 2020 | Blog, Criminal Law, Drug Crime, Marijuana, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

13.    N.J.S.2C:52-15 is amended to read as follows: 2C:52-15. a.  Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, if an order of expungement of records of arrest or conviction under this chapter is granted by the court, all the records specified in said order shall be removed from the files of the law enforcement and criminal justice agencies which at the time of the hearing of the petition, possess the records1 and shall be placed in the control of a person who has been designated by the head of each such agency.  That designated person shall, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, ensure that such records or the information contained therein are not released for any reason and are not utilized or referred to for any purpose.  In response to requests for information or records of the person who was arrested or convicted, all officers, departments and agencies shall reply, with respect to the arrest, conviction or related proceedings which are the subject of the order, that there is no record information. The court shall provide proof of expungement to the person whose records have been expunged or to that person’s representative.

b.   Records of the Probation Division of the Superior Court related to any court-ordered financial assessment that remains due at the time the court grants an expungement or sealing of records shall be transferred to the New Jersey Department of Treasury for the collection and disbursement of future payments and satisfaction of judgments in accordance with section 8 of P.L.2017, c.244 (C.2C:52-23.1). The term “court-ordered financial assessment” as used herein and throughout this section 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 the subject of the expungement or sealing order, for which payment of restitution takes precedence in accordance with chapter 46 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.  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 authority to amend the judgment concerning the amount of any court-ordered financial assessment that remains due at the time the court grants an expungement or sealing of records.

Statutory language was amended consistent with the newly automated system for advising record-keeping agencies of an expungement hearing. Language was also added to confirm that courts have the sole authority to amend judgments of conviction concerning the amount of financial assessments that are due at the time an expungement is granted. It makes sense to ask for outstanding assessments to be vacated as part of an expungement application. If law enforcement objects to the vacation of the assessments, their objection should not be construed as objecting to the entire expungement petition.