Written by AARON CASTREJON
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors announced 66,000 marijuana convictions in Los Angeles County will be dismissed as part of an effort to promote criminal justice reform.
The convictions, dating back to 1961, will be dismissed as part of a partnership with Code for America which implemented the Clear My Record pilot program to clear convictions in five California counties: San Francisco County, Contra Costa County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County and Los Angeles County.
62,000 of those were felony convictions. 4,000 were misdemeanors, with cases filed in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, Inglewood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach.
The convictions were eligible for relief under Prop 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which was passed by the majority of voters November 8, 2016.
“The dismissal of tens of thousands of old cannabis-related convictions in Los Angeles County will bring much needed relief to communities of color that disproportionately suffered the unjust consequences of our nation’s drug laws,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
In total, more than 85,000 marijuana convictions were dismissed and sealed across the five counties, according to Evonne Silva, senior program director of criminal justice at Code for America.
“This is a clear demonstration that automatic record clearance is possible at scale and can help right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs,” Silva said.
53,000 people will receive conviction relief through this partnership. Of those, approximately 32 percent are Black or African American, 20 percent are White, 45 percent are Latinx, and 3 percent are other or unknown, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Under AB 1793, those with prior convictions for cannabis-related crimes will not be required to petition the court for redesignation or dismissal. The Department of Justice was required to review cases and identify convictions eligible for redesignation or dismissal by July 1, 2020.
The bill then requires the courts to automatically redesignate or dismiss convictions by July 1, 2020.
“The Clear My Record Application allows District Attorneys to securely and accurately evaluate eligibility for convictions by reading and interpreting criminal history data from the California Department of Justice,” the District Attorney’s Office said.
To find out if your record has been cleared, or for more information about this initiative, contact the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office by phone at 323-760-6763 or visit pubdef.lacounty.gov.