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Felony Expungement Bill Clears Kentucky Senate

Update: The Kentucky Senate has passed House Bill 40, which allows for the expungement of some Class D felonies from criminal records. The bill now heads back to the House.

Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Whitney Westerfield says the bill would expunge only 61 of Kentucky’s nearly 400 Class D felonies, but that constitutes 70 percent of the state’s Class D felon population. Westerfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, says the bill is a one-time chance at redemption for some felons.

“They need to have an opportunity to get a job, to get a student loan or to go to school or be enrolled somewhere without wearing that scarlet letter," Westerfield said.

“The whole point here is redemption," Westerfield said. "You’ve got people that are convicted felons that have gone a number of years without doing anything. They’ve done exactly what we ask someone in the criminal justice system to do, which is to correct their behavior."

Under the bill, felons would have to wait five years before applying for expungement and then their case would be presented at a hearing before their record could be wiped clean.

Some of the crimes that could be expunged under the bill include third degree burglary, receiving stolen property and tampering with physical evidence. For the full list, click here.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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