Bill Text: NJ S2318 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for expedited expungement of marijuana offenses in the event of decriminalization or legalization; establishes the "Expungement Coordinator Program" for certain marijuana convictions.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-03-22 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S2318 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S2318-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2318

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 22, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH P. CRYAN

District 20 (Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for expedited expungement of marijuana offenses in the event of decriminalization or legalization; establishes the "Expungement Coordinator Program" for certain marijuana convictions.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning expungement and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, upon enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana, hashish, marijuana concentrate or marijuana-infused products the following persons may file a petition for expungement at any time:

     (1) any person who has been charged with or convicted of obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to make lawful disposition of marijuana pursuant to N.J.S.2C:35-10 and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense;

     (2) any person who has been charged with or convicted of using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia for use of marijuana pursuant N.J.S.2C:36-2 and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense; or

     (3) any person who has been charged with or convicted of possessing or using marijuana concentrate or marijuana-infused products and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense.

     b.    The provisions of N.J.S.2C:52-9 through N.J.S.2C:52-14 shall not apply to the petition and the court, upon review of the petition, shall immediately grant the expungement.

     c.     As used in this section:

     "Marijuana concentrate" means a product consisting wholly or in part of the resin extracted from any part of the plant Genus Cannabis L. and having a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration greater than 10 percent.

     "Marijuana-infused products" means products that contain marijuana extracts, are intended for human use, are derived from marijuana and have a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration no greater than 10 percent.

 

     2.    a.  The Administrative Director of the Courts shall establish an "Expungement Coordinator Program" for the purpose of serving as a resource for persons who file a petition for expungement in accordance with the provisions of P.L.     , c.      (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The expungement coordinator shall provide assistance to the applicant with:

     (1) preparing, filing, and servicing the expungement application;

     (2) obtaining the necessary records from the appropriate county or State government agencies for completion of the expungement application; and

     (3) distributing the finalized expungement order.

     b.    As used in P.L.    , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an "expungement coordinator" shall mean a volunteer who has been screened, trained, approved, and supervised by the Administrative Director of the Courts to participate in the "Expungement Coordinator Program."  "Volunteer" means a member of any civic or community-based organization involved with social justice issues, an attorney on a pro bono basis or an attorney from a legal services organization that provides legal assistance in civil matters, or a law student attending any accredited law school.

     c.     An expungement coordinator shall be subject to guidelines and standards established by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

     d.    Any expungement coordinator acting in good faith within the scope of his appointment shall have immunity from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by reason of his actions or failures to act except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct.  

 

     3.    The Administrative Director of the Courts shall develop and maintain a public awareness campaign regarding the "Expungement Coordinator Program" established pursuant to P.L.   , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  

 

     4.    This act shall take effect upon the enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana, hashish, marijuana concentrate or marijuana-infused products.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, which is contingent upon enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana, would provide for an expedited expungement process for certain marijuana and marijuana-related offenses and establish an expungement coordinator program to facilitate the process.

     Currently, the Judiciary provides materials and information to assist individuals in petitioning the court for expungement. While this information is essential, one-to-one assistance to those individuals is also important. It is the sponsor's belief that establishing a centralized resource where individuals charged with or convicted of marijuana offenses may go for assistance enhances the Judiciary's existing system.

Automatic Expungement

     The bill provides that upon enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana, hashish, marijuana concentrate or marijuana-infused products, any person charged with or convicted of certain marijuana offenses would be eligible for automatic expungement of their criminal records.  Under the bill, any person who has been charged with or convicted of obtaining, possessing, using, being under the influence of, or failing to make lawful disposition of marijuana pursuant to N.J.S.2C:35-10 and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense would be eligible for automatic expungement.  Automatic expungement would also apply for any person who has been charged with or convicted of using or possessing with intent to use drug paraphernalia for use of marijuana pursuant N.J.S.2C:36-2 and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense. In addition, automatic expungement would apply for any person who has been charged with or convicted of possessing or using marijuana concentrate or marijuana-infused products and whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense.

     Expungement Coordinator Program

     In addition, the bill provides that the Administrative Director of the Courts would establish an "Expungement Coordinator Program" for the purpose of serving as a resource to persons who file a petition for expungement in accordance with the bill.  The expungement coordinator would provide assistance to the applicant with the preparation, filing, and service of the expungement application.  The coordinator would also provide assistance to the applicant with obtaining the records needed for completion of the expungement application from county or State government agencies and assist the applicant with the finalized order.

     The coordinator would be a volunteer who has been screened, trained, approved and supervised by the Administrative Director of the Courts to participate in the program.  "Volunteer" means a member of any civic or community-based organization involved in social justice issues, an attorney on a pro bono basis or an attorney from a legal services organization that provides legal assistance in civil matters, or a law student attending any accredited law school. An expungement coordinator would be subject to guidelines and standards established by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Any coordinator acting in good faith within the scope of his appointment would be immune from any civil or criminal immunity, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct.  

     Public Awareness Campaign

     The bill would also require the Administrative Director of the Courts to develop and maintain a public awareness campaign regarding the program.  

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