Judge O’Malley concluded with the following: The documents submitted do not indicate that police sought or executed a search warrant on petitioner or that any narcotics were recovered outside of the small amounts purchased by the “friend” and undercover officer. As a result, the manner in which the distribution was accomplished suggests that the events were interdependent or closely related as the police relied on the “friend” to make the introduction and purchase.
Additionally, the time frame here is “comparatively short” when one considers the length of petitioner’s criminal behavior (six weeks) versus the time period that he has been law-abiding since his conviction (almost twenty years). Moreover, although this term is undefined in the statute, case law suggests that term “comparatively short” applies to a wide range of situations. For example, harkening back to In re Fontana, the court used the term “comparatively short time” in reference to a series of crimes committed between February 27, 1962 and March 8, 1962. In contrast, the Appellate Division had previously used the term “comparatively short” period of time to reference one year when discussing custody arrangements in a divorce matter. Sheehan v. Sheehan, (App. Div. 1958). Although there is a wide-range acknowledged by the courts, petitioner’s case clearly falls within the permissible perimeters.
Moreover, petitioner has demonstrated to the satisfaction of this court that he is a “reformed offender.” After pleading guilty to four offenses, petitioner successfully completed probation, obtained substance abuse and mental health therapy, and achieved a Master’s degree. He has a led a law-abiding life for almost twenty years. Petitioner has demonstrated a willingness and ability to be a productive member of society but is hindered by his convictions. For these reasons, the court finds that expungement is in the public’s best interest and is consistent with legislative intent. Petitioner’s motion for expungement is GRANTED.
On the date that this decision issued, amendments to the expungement statute already passed and included a new “clean slate” expungement sub-section. Even if the prosecutor’s office appealed this decision and prevailed, the defendant would have been eligible to expunge both offenses under the “clean slate” sub-section by the time the appeal was decided.