Written By: Ishton W. Morton – September 16th, 2019
Speaking truth to power, much credit is due for Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and Cincinnati Council Member Jeff Pastor for their relentless efforts on championing this movement. They have done exceedingly well.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary “expungement of record” is defined as the “Process by which record of criminal conviction(s) are destroyed or sealed from the state or Federal repository.” Meanwhile expungement in itself deals specifically with an underlying criminal record; it is a civil action in which the subject is the petitioner or plaintiff ask a court to declare that the records be expunged.
However, under legal common law system, an expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the records are said to be “expunged.”
Be ye not deceived! There is a very real distinction between an expungement and a pardon. When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most purposes, treat the event as if it never occurred. This process is not to grant pardons.
Be reminded that each jurisdiction whose law allows expungement has its own definitions of expungement proceedings.
With that been said it is necessary to be reminded that the State of Ohio and the City of Cincinnati is not on the same page with this issue. Because, it is still illegal to smoke in public and is in conflict with Ohio law.
Generally, expungement is the process to “remove from general review” the records pertaining to a case. However, in many jurisdictions the records may not completely “disappear” and may still be available to law enforcement, to sentencing judges on subsequent offenses, and to corrections facilities to which the individual may be sentenced on subsequent convictions.
Nevertheless, as the saying goes, relief is on the way. Especially for those who may have had some occurring marijuana offenses within the city’s limits.
Subsequently, Cincinnati City Council is scheduled to discuss expunging certain marijuana-related offenses.
The proposed ordinance comes after city leaders removed punishment for people caught with up to three ounces of marijuana.