Prosecutor-Initiated Record Relief in Ohio: A Survey of Prosecutorial Plans to Seal and Expunge Low-Level Controlled Substance Offenses

Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 794

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August 2023

19 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2023

See all articles by Jana Hrdinova

Jana Hrdinova

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU)

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Peter Leasure

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: August 23, 2023

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Hrdinova, Jana and Ridgway, Dexter and Berman, Douglas A. and Leasure, Peter, Prosecutor-Initiated Record Relief in Ohio: A Survey of Prosecutorial Plans to Seal and Expunge Low-Level Controlled Substance Offenses (August 23, 2023). Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 794, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4542994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4542994

Jana Hrdinova (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Dexter Ridgway

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Street
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-688-8690 (Phone)

Peter Leasure

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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