SAN FRANCISCO — A Northern California law­maker and district at­tor­ney announced Thurs­day a proposed law that would automatically clear some 8 million crim­inal convictions el­ig­ib­le for sealing but that remain public records.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and state Democratic As­sem­blyman Phil Ting of San Francisco said the bill if passed would help mil­lions of offenders take ad­vantage of an often over­looked law allowing convicted drunken dri­vers, burglars and other low-level offenders to seal their records.

Gascon at a press con­ference in San Francisco with Ting said fewer than 20% of eligible cases are cleared and that most eligible offenders are unaware they can seal their criminal records and are “living in a paper prison.”

Sex offenders and any offender who served time in prison are ineligible.

The bill introduced in the Assembly by Ting would require the state to automatically clear el­ig­ible convictions of of­fend­ers who served their sen­tences, including pro­ba­tion, and who oth­er­wise stayed out troub­le. The bill would also wipe away many re­cords of arrests that ended with­out criminal con­victions.

Gascon said sealing eligible criminal records will help one-time, low-level offenders find jobs, housing and education that may be blocked by their convictions. Gascon says the proposed law would remain in law en­force­ment data bases, but would bar access to background check agen­cies and the public in general.

“It really impacts the ability for the general pub­lic to get this in­for­ma­tion … landlords, em­ploy­ers, schools,” Gascon said. “It still allows law en­forcement to have this information in case they re-offend.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.