A few months ago, we posted about how United States District Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York ordered a federal fraud conviction to be expunged. Now, the New York Times Editorial Board, based on Judge Gleeson’s decision is urging action to confront the frightening fact that more than a quarter of American adults have some form of criminal record and are subject to a host of laws and regulations severely restricting their civil rights — voting, employment, housing, parental rights, and more. Many collateral consequences have no connection to the underlying crime.
The editorial embraces the concept of giving judges the ability to grant “certificates of rehabilitation” to help individuals convince employers and others their debt to society has been paid. It also advocates the DOJ take a stronger role in pushing for executive pardons. Amazingly, the Department of Justice is currently fighting Judge Gleeson’s expungement order, calling it an “editing of history.” The editorial encourages congressional or presidential corrective action.
What do you think? Should Congress move towards a more lenient collateral consequences regime? To learn more about expungement, click here.