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Listen: LAS Talks New Application to Destroy Marijuana Conviction Records

Emma Goodman, a staff attorney in the Special Litigation Unit and the Case Closed Project at The Legal Aid Society, appeared on The Capitol Pressroom to break down a new form for New Yorkers to request destruction of the court records of their expunged low-level marijuana convictions. The form is part of the 2019 legislation that decriminalized low-level marijuana offenses and automatically expunged records of some previous convictions.

While Goodman stressed the role that expungement plays in helping those with past convictions acquire employment and move on with their lives, she counseled New Yorkers to contact an attorney before having their records destroyed, warning that the move may have unintended consequences.

“[Destroying your record] sounds great, but in reality . . . if something comes up – like a private company’s background check that is incorrect – and they say ‘We see this record and we want proof that this case was actually expunged,’ you won’t have proof of that because the record no longer exists,” she said. “So it’s actually potentially very dangerous and harmful, even though it sounds like a great thing and makes people feel better . . . 90% of the time, it’s not a good idea.”

Listen to the full episode below.