The lead prosecutor for Los Angeles County declared on Thursday that her office had teamed with a nonprofit technology team to apparent 66,000 past marijuana convictions, some going back so long as six years. Before this week, District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed a motion to divert 66,000 felony convictions going back to 1961 and a second 4,000 convictions for misdemeanor crimes from 10 cities in Los Angeles County.
The movement has been signed by Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta on Tuesday. Together with all the judge’s order, roughly 22,000 offenders will no more have a felony on those documents. Another 15,000 will no have no criminal record in any way.
“The dismissal of thousands of older cannabis-related convictions in Los Angeles County will deliver irreparable relief to communities of colour that suffered the unfair consequences of the country’s drug laws,” Lacey said in a declaration.
In complete, 53,000 individuals had convictions removed in their own records. Of these, 45percent are Latino, 32percent are Black, and 20percent are white. The district attorney’s office decided that an extra two,142 convictions recognized for potential relief weren’t qualified due to the offenders’ other criminal convictions.
Rectifying Racial Bias
Lacey stated the expungement of criminal records helps rectify the racial inequities prevalent in the authorities of the country’s drug laws. In 2016, a research found that although African Americans make up only 6 percent of the nation’s population, almost a quarter of the serving time in California prisons exclusively for marijuana crimes are Black.
“This does is right that inequity of yesteryear,” Lacey said in a meeting with the Los Angeles Times. “It provides them a beginning, a fresh beginning.”
Under a law passed 2018, prosecutors across the country were led to expunge convictions for many crimes no more illegal and decrease several others from felonies to misdemeanors. Prosecutors have until July of the year to abide by the law.
so as to satisfy this duty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office collaborated with the nonprofit tech team Code to get America to spot convictions qualified for relief. The team created an algorithm which combs through previous records of convictions to determine qualified cases and automatically generates the required legal documents to file with the court.
Code for America has shared with the algorithm together with 58 district attorneys in California. During this week’s actions, the algorithm has helped at the dismissal of 85,000 previous Legislation in five counties.
Evonne Silva, Code to America’s Senior Program Manager of Criminal Justice, stated that the 66,000 convictions stuck in Los Angeles County are still an instance of the job tech can perform in criminal justice reform.
“That is a very clear demonstration that automatic document clearance is potential at scale and will help right the wrongs of this failed war on drugs,” she explained.