Gov. Kathy Hochul Signs ‘Clean Slate Act,’ Sealing Criminal Records for Employment, Housing Applications
Vaughn Golden and Sarah Goodman, New York Post, November 16, 2023
Some convicted criminals in New York will now have their records sealed when applying for jobs and filling out housing applications, after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the controversial new “Clean Slate Act” in a ceremony Thursday.
The governor hailed the progressive legislation as a way to get more ex-cons in the work force — despite opposition from some police groups and law-and-order conservatives.
The legislation seals eligible misdemeanor records after three years and certain felony records after eight years after their sentence is complete as long as the offender doesn’t commit another crime during that time.
Charges eligible to be sealed include misdemeanors such as disorderly conduct, larceny and vandalism as well as non-violent felonies like money laundering, insurance fraud and compelling prostitution.
Crimes designated as class A felonies like murder, predatory sexual assault, terrorism, arson and kidnapping would not be eligible to be sealed. That excludes class A felonies for drug possession.
Republicans have blasted the legislation, saying it hurts victims and takes away a power that judges already had the ability to do on their own accord.
“The Clean Slate Act represents the latest step in the wrong direction,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay wrote in a statement. “This is yet another pro-criminal, misguided policy from the people intent on dismantling law and order and removing individual accountability.”
Some law enforcement officials also railed against Clean Slate, saying the measures fall in line with the state’s revisions to bail laws.
“I think there’s a force magnifier, when you have law after law, that emboldens criminals, law and the law that tells criminals, they are not accountable for their actions,” Suffolk County PBA President Lou Civello said. “I think it certainly demoralizes your law enforcement officers, those of us that are out there risking our lives to make this a safer place to live.”