Many people commit a crime at one point in their lives, some doing so inadvertently and not of their own volition, although most offenses are pre-meditated. However, for first time offences 'felony expungement' is a viable option.
Definition of Felony Expungement
To debunk the legal terminology, a felony is any crime or act that is committed which does not comply with the law of the state or country the offender resides in. However, if this is their first time committing a crime, there is the opportunity to have it 'expunged'. This is similar, but not identical to a pardon. In essence, it is effect of 'wiping' the slate clean as it means that the offence is not accessible through the state or Federal repositories. For the most part, the individual can treat the crime as if it never happened. An expungement is almost like a reward for previous good behavior, which has led to a number of high-profile individuals seeking an expungement.
Jesse Jackson Jr. Trying to Clear His Criminal Record
Jesse Jackson Jr., the former US representative is hoping to have his criminal record erased by appealing direct to President Obama. Jackson was seen by many as quite a high-profile figure in parliament which led some commentators to be surprised of accusations of misappropriating campaign funds being leveled against him. Jackson is trying to do quite an audacious thing here, but seems to be some noises that his appeal will be successful, with Obama keen to demonstrate a more flexible side. Obama is ready to exercise more Presidential clemency, although whether this will apply to Jackson's case remains to be seen. Draconian sentencing has long been a hallmark of the US legal system (they still retain the seemingly archaic death penalty in some states) and efforts are clearly being made to modernize it.
Some Juvenile Records could potentially be expunged with proposed bill
A new bill which has been proposed by representative Arthur Turner suggests that juvenile records automatically be expunged when they reach 18 years old. This possibly suggests that he feels that such offences were part of the immaturity of youth and that the offenders would realize the error of their ways upon reaching a certain age. This seems a fairly valid assumption to make, although not all people will turn out this way. Not all juvenile records would be expunged, with certain qualifying criteria to be met. The juveniles must realize the offence they have committed and the crime should not be too severe (arson for example may be difficult to expunge) as it is not advisable to expunge a crime which is to serious. However, it does give young people a fresh start in life. Recent figures which have been released reveal that 75% of juvenile arrests in Cook County do not result in people being charged so this does infer that the severity of crimes committed by juveniles is not to severe. It is certainly a bill with commendable aims and a good function, although the practicalities of it have to be considered.