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Local

County waiting on state police list for automatic marijuana expungements

Expungement photo illustration
Expungement photo illustration

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Circuit Clerk’s Office is waiting on information from Illinois State Police before it can begin automatically expunging past marijuana convictions, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done earlier.

DeKalb County Circuit Clerk Maureen Josh said anyone who wants to request an expungement can do so. In June, the bill that made Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana also called for automatic expungement of criminal records for possessing about 1 ounce or less of marijuana.

“We do expungements all the time,” she said.

An email from the state police to the circuit clerk’s office noted that the Illinois State Police’s Bureau of Identification had finished evaluating its criminal history repository and identified about 116,000 eligible records for expungements.

The state police then forwarded the records to the Prisoner Review Board for review, according to the email.

The circuit clerk’s office is not the only office tasked with expunging records, however. All records need to be expunged, including arrest records even if the arrest did not lead to charges. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office also has to go through its records to identify those eligible for expungement.

“It’s very staff intensive,” Chief of Corrections Joyce Klein said. Jail records are also included in the records the sheriff’s office need to review.

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said all records since 2013 have to be expunged by 2021.

Records from between 2000 to 2013 need to be expunged before January 2023 and all records from before 2000 have until January 2025 to be expunged, Amato said,

“It’s as if it never happened,” Amato described expungement.

For other marijuana convictions, those convicted of possessing between 30 and 500 grams can petition the courts for expungement with a “motion to vacate.”

Marijuana offenses tied to violent crime are not eligible for automatic expungement, but expungement can still be requested via the motion to vacate process.

• Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.

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