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H.R.623 - Second Chance for
Ex-Offenders Act of 2007
To permit expungement of records of certain
nonviolent criminal offenses. Sponsor: Rep Rangel, Charles B.
[NY-15] (introduced 1/22/2007)
Cosponsors (None) Latest Major Action:
1/22/2007 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House
Committee on the Judiciary.
Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2007 (Introduced
HR 623 IH
H. R. 623
To permit expungement of records of certain nonviolent criminal
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 22, 2007
Mr. RANGEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary
To permit expungement of records of certain nonviolent criminal
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of
SEC. 2. EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS FOR CERTAIN NONVIOLENT
(a) In General- Chapter 229 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by
inserting after subchapter C the following new subchapter:
`3631. Expungement of certain criminal records in limited
`3632. Requirements for expungement.
`3633. Procedure for expungement.
`3634. Effect of expungement.
`3635. Reversal of expunged records.
`3636. Unsealing of records.
`Sec. 3631. Expungement of certain criminal records in limited
`(a) In General- Any individual convicted of an nonviolent offense who
fulfills the requirements of section 3632 may file a petition under this
subchapter to expunge the record of such conviction.
`(b) Definition of Nonviolent Offense- In this subchapter, the term
`nonviolent offense' means a misdemeanor or felony offense against the United
States that does not have as an element of the offense the use of a weapon or
violence and which did not actually involve violence in its commission.
`Sec. 3632. Requirements for expungement
`No individual shall be eligible for expungement under this subchapter
unless, before filing a petition under this subchapter, such individual--
`(1) has never been convicted of a violent offense (including an offense
under State law that would be a violent offense if it were Federal) and has
never been convicted of a nonviolent offense other than the one for which
expungement is sought;
`(2) has fulfilled all requirements of the sentence of the court in
which conviction was obtained, including completion of any term of
imprisonment or period of probation, meeting all conditions of a supervised
release, and paying all fines;
`(3) has remained free from dependency on or abuse of alcohol or a
controlled substance a minimum of 1 year and has been rehabilitated, to the
satisfaction of the court referred to in section 3633(b), if so required by
the terms of a supervised release;
`(4) has obtained a high school diploma or completed a high school
equivalency program; and
`(5) has completed at least one year of community service, as determined
by the court referred to in section 3633(b).
`Sec. 3633. Procedure for expungement
`(a) Petition- An individual may file a petition for expungement in the
court in which the conviction was obtained. A copy of the petition shall be
served by the court upon the United States Attorney for the district in which
the conviction sought to be expunged was obtained. Not later than 60 days
after receipt of such petition, the United States Attorney may submit written
recommendations to the court and notify the petitioner of that
`(b) Court-Ordered Expungement- The court, after consideration of evidence
submitted by the petitioner in support of the petition and any evidence
submitted by the Government in support of objections it may have to granting
the petition, shall rule on the petition. In making that ruling the court,
after determining whether the petitioner meets the eligibility requirements of
this subchapter, shall weigh the interests of the petitioner against the best
interests of justice and public safety.
`Sec. 3634. Effect of expungement
`(a) In General- An order granting expungement under this subchapter shall
restore the individual concerned, in the contemplation of the law, to the
status such individual occupied before the arrest or institution of criminal
proceedings for the crime that was the subject of the expungement.
`(b) No Disqualification; Statements- After an order granting expungement
of any individual's criminal records under this subchapter, such individual
shall not be required to divulge information pertaining to the expunged
conviction and the fact that such individual has been convicted of the
criminal offense concerned shall not--
`(1) operate as a disqualification of such individual to pursue or
engage in any lawful activity, occupation, profession, and
`(2) held under any provision of law guilty of perjury, false answering,
or making a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or
acknowledge such arrest or institution of criminal proceedings, or results
thereof, in response to an inquiry made of him for any purpose.
`(c) Records Expunged or Sealed- Upon order of expungement, all official
law enforcement and court records, including all references to such person's
arrest for the offense, the institution of criminal proceedings against him,
and the results thereof, except publicly available court opinions or briefs on
appeal, shall be expunged (in the case of nontangible records) or gathered
together and sealed (in the case of tangible records).
`(d) Record of Disposition to Be Retained- A nonpublic record of a
disposition or conviction that is the subject of an expungement order shall be
retained only by the Department of Justice solely for the purpose of use by
the courts in any subsequent adjudication.
`Sec. 3635. Disclosure of expunged records
`(a) Law Enforcement Purposes- The Department of Justice may maintain a
nonpublic manual or computerized index of expunged records containing only the
name of, and alphanumeric identifiers that relate to, the persons who are the
subject of such expunged records, the word `expunged', and the name of the
person, agency, office, or department that has custody of the expunged
records, and shall not name the offense committed. The index shall be made
available only to Federal and State law enforcement personnel who have custody
of such expunged records and only for the purposes set forth in subsection (b)
of this section.
`(b) Authorized Disclosure- Such records shall be made available to the
person accused or to such person's designated agent and shall be made
`(1) any prosecutor, law enforcement agency, or court which has
responsibility for criminally investigating, prosecuting, or adjudicating
`(2) any State or local office or agency with responsibility for the
issuance of licenses to possess guns where the accused has made application
for such license; or
`(3) any prospective city, State, or Federal employer or agency,
involved in investigating and/or prosecuting under criminal or civil
statutes including employers of police or peace officers and in relation to
an application for employment as an employee of a city, State, or Federal
employer or agency involved in investigating or prosecuting under criminal
or civil statutes including as a police officer or peace officer, and every
person who is an applicant for the position of police officer, peace
officer, or any other prospective city, State, or Federal employer or
agency, involved in investigating or prosecuting under criminal or civil
statutes shall be furnished with a copy of all records obtained under this
paragraph and afforded an opportunity to make an explanation thereto.
`(c) Punishment for Improper Disclosure- Any person who knowingly
disseminates information relating to an expunged conviction other than the
offender shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year,
`Sec. 3636. Reversal of expunged records
`The records expunged under this subchapter shall be restored by operation
of law as public records and may be used in all court proceedings if the
individual whose conviction was expunged is subsequently convicted of any
Federal or State offense.'.
(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of subchapters at the beginning of
chapter 229 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end
the following item:
(c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this Act shall apply to
individuals convicted of an offense before, on, or after the date of enactment
of this Act.
EXTENSION OF REMARKS
REHABILITATED, NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS
NEED A SECOND CHANCE
HON. CHARLES B.
OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF
Monday, February 5,
Mr. RANGEL. Madam Speaker, I
rise today to bring to your attention the devastating impact of imprisonment on
the lives of rehabilitated ex-offenders and to enter into the RECORD an opinion
editorial in the New York Times entitled, “Closing the Revolving
Last week I introduced the
Second Chance Act which would provide for the expungement
of criminal records of certain non-violent offenders who have paid their debts
to society. This “second chance” would only apply to individuals who have
clearly demonstrated their commitment to turning themselves into industrious
members of our communities.
It is preposterous that many
states have often been forced to choose between building new prisons or new
schools, because of the federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Worse still,
the country has created a growing felon caste, now more than 16 million strong
and growing, of felons and ex-felons, who are often driven back to prison by
policies that make it impossible for them to find jobs, housing or
The U.S. Sentencing Commission
and the Department of Justice have both concluded that mandatory sentencing
fails to deter crime. Furthermore, mandatory minimums have worsened racial and
gender disparities and have contributed greatly toward prison overcrowding.
Mandatory minimum sentencing is costly and unjust. Mandatory sentencing does not
eliminate sentencing disparities; instead it shifts decision-making authority
from judges to prosecutors, who operate without accountability. Mandatory
minimums fail to punish high-level dealers. Finally, mandatory sentences are
responsible for sending record numbers of women and people of color to
I urge your support for H.R.
623, the “Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2007,” which would provide for
the expungement of criminal records of certain non-violent offenders who have
paid their debts to society.
[From the New York
CLOSING THE REVOLVING
The United States is
paying a heavy price for the mandatory sentencing fad that swept the country 30
years ago. After a tenfold increase in the nation’s prison population—and a
corrections price tag that exceeds $60 billion a year—the states have often been
forced to choose between building new prisons or new schools. Worse still, the
country has created a growing felon caste, now more than 16 million strong, of
felons and ex-felons, who are often driven back to prison by policies that make
it impossible for them to find jobs, housing or
Congress could begin to address
this problem by passing the Second
Chance Act, which would offer support services for
people who are leaving prison. But it would take more than one new law to undo
30 years of damage:
Researchers have shown that
inmates who earn college degrees tend to find jobs and stay out of jail once
released. Congress needs to revoke laws that bar inmates from receiving Pell
grants and that bar some students with drug convictions from getting other
support. Following Washington’s lead, the states have destroyed
prison education programs that had long since proved their
People who leave prison without
jobs or places to live are unlikely to stay out of jail. Congress should repeal
the lifetime ban on providing temporary welfare benefits to people with felony
drug convictions. The federal government should strengthen tax credit and
bonding programs that encourage employers to hire people with criminal records.
States need to stop barring ex-offenders from jobs because of unrelated
crimes—or arrests in the distant past that never led to
Congress should deny a request
from the F.B.I. to begin including juvenile arrests that never led to
convictions (and offenses like drunkenness or vagrancy) in the millions of rap
sheets sent to employers. That would transform single indiscretions into
Curbing recidivism will also
require doing a lot more to provide help and medication for the one out of every
six inmates who suffer mental illness.
The only real way to reduce the
inmate population—and the felon class—is to ensure that imprisonment is a method
of last resort. That means abandoning the mandatory sentencing laws that have
filled prisons to bursting with nonviolent offenders who are doomed to remain
trapped at the very margins of society.
Plantation, Florida 33318-5667
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