Newly Passed Clean Slate Act Allows Criminals to Magically Erase Their Past

Newly Passed Clean Slate Act Allows Criminals to Magically Erase Their Past

by Mindy Cohn

Governor Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act into law on Thursday, a bill that allows those with a so-called clean record to have their criminal history automatically sealed three years after a misdemeanor sentence or parole and eight years after a felony conviction, excluding specific Class A felonies.

New York State's Unified Court System has been given three years to identify who of the 2.2 million criminals convicted of a crime in New York between 1980 and 2021 are now eligible to have their crimes automatically sealed.

After the past crimes are hidden away, criminal convictions will automatically be sealed going forward so that after a criminal is released from jail and completes a set waiting period of three years for a misdemeanor and eight years for a felony the public will be blocked from knowing of those crimes.

Sealable offenses that will now be hidden away in New York include manslaughter; vehicular homicide (DWI-related crash causing death); vehicular assault (DWI-related crash causing serious physical injury); gun felonies; most kidnappings; assault, including gang assaults and assaults on police officers; attempted murder in the second degree; some terrorism offenses, including making a terroristic threat; residential burglaries; armed robbery; domestic violence felonies; threatening or intimidating witnesses; hate crimes where the underlying offense is less than a class A felony; DWI for repeat offenses; animal abuse; arson (not including class A felony)

Congressman Mike Lawler immediately released the following statement after Governor Hochul signed "Clean Slate" into law.

"In Governor Kathy Hochul's New York, criminals come first," said Congressman Mike Lawler. "That's the message she sent loud and clear today by signing the disastrous 'Clean Slate' legislation into law."

"Hiding the criminal records of millions of convicted felons from potential employers and the public, while simultaneously impugning the reputations of heroic law enforcement officers is absurd public policy," concluded Congressman Lawler. "This two-tiered system of transparency, where criminals come first, is wrong, appalling, and must change. 2026 can't get here soon enough."

Senator Bill Weber also released a statement on the same day.

"Today's signing of the Clean Slate Act into law by the Governor is just the latest slap in the face to the law-abiding citizens of New York State", said Senator Bill Weber. "When this bill was being debated, I heard from crime victims, victims' rights advocates, and law enforcement officials about the potential impacts on public safety. Their concerns were dismissed by the radical leftists who now run the state legislature. New York continues to go in the wrong direction with pro-criminal legislation that puts our communities and law enforcement in danger," 

Supporters of the new bill feel that those who have allegedly paid their debt to society should be awarded this second chance and, going forward, won't be discriminated against when applying for employment or housing.

Not everyone will be blocked from knowing about criminals' past actions. Agencies that process firearms licenses will still be able to see sealed convictions. The DMV will be able to see driving-related convictions only.

Additionally, public schools, police agencies, and licensed facilities that deal with children, older people, or people with disabilities would also have access to sealed convictions when looking into potential new hires.

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