Prosecutor-Initiated Record Relief in Ohio: A Survey of Prosecutorial Plans to Seal and Expunge Low-Level Controlled Substance Offenses
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August 2023
19 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2023
Date Written: August 23, 2023
Ohio Senate Bill 288 (134th G.A.) created Ohio Revised Code Section (2953.39) to allow prosecutors to initiate sealing or expungement actions on behalf of defendants previously convicted of low-level controlled substance offenses. After passage of this new law, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University surveyed all elected or appointed prosecutors in Ohio to gauge their office's interest and willingness to initiate record sealing or expungement applications on behalf of people who have been previously convicted of a low-level controlled substance offense. Overall, about 12% of respondents stated that they were willing to pursue prosecutor-initiated sealing for low-level controlled substance offenses. For those who reported that they were unlikely to pursue prosecutor-initiated sealing, common explanations for not doing so included the lack of staffing resources, the lack of financial resources, the lack of data, the belief it is not the responsibility of prosecutors, and the sufficiency of the defendant-initiated system.
Keywords: Sealing, Expungement, Prosecutors, Ohio Revised Code, Controlled Substance Offenses, Collateral Consequences of Conviction
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