INDIANAPOLIS- A change in state law taking effect today will allow non-violent offenders to request that their criminal records be sealed. An Indianapolis resident, Quinn Minor, says the opportunity could make an important difference for him and his family. Quinn filed a petition with the Marion County Superior Court today to limit access to records of two decade-old convictions.
Quinn says despite the fact that he has moved forward with his life since completing home detention and probation for two low-value conversion convictions, his criminal record has limited job opportunities and made it difficult for the father of three to move forward with his life. Quinn has had no arrests since his 1997 and 1999 convictions.
"These cases are older than my children," Quinn said. "I've owned my own business, gone back to school, and raised a family with my wife of 13 years. I paid my dues for these crimes, and I think my family deserves the opportunity to move forward without my old mistakes limiting our future."
The law was changed under House Enrolled Act 1211, co-sponsored by State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), to improve outcomes for individuals pursuing educational and professional goals after having served a sentence for a non-violent criminal conviction. The act would limit eligibility to misdemeanor or Class D felony convictions, such as minor drug offenses, that are categorized as neither a sex crime nor a violent crime.
"We need to give those who have made a mistake and paid their debt to society a second chance to elevate their lives and provide for their families," Sen. Taylor said. "Under current law, a lot of these individuals are kept from meeting their full potential due to a prior conviction that trails them."
Individuals convicted of certain crimes can make the request to restrict access to arrest and criminal records once 8 or more years have passed since the completion of their sentence, which means being released from prison and from parole. The petitioner must not have been convicted of a felony since the completion of their last sentence and may not be a sex or violent offender.
Also included in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1211 are provisions that would allow individuals to request restricted access to certain arrest records if they were not prosecuted or if charges were dismissed, if they were acquitted, or if the related conviction is subsequently vacated.
If limited access to arrest records is granted by a court, an individual would not be required to disclose their conviction on an employment application or any other document unrelated to the criminal justice system.
This bill mirrors efforts set forth by the federal Second Chance Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. The Second Chance Act was the first legislation enacted to provide mentoring, housing, employment and other services to citizens returning to their communities after serving time for a conviction.
For more information on how these provisions can affect specific circumstances, individuals should contact an attorney. For more information on Sen. Taylor, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit http://www.senatedemocrats.in.gov/.
QUINN MINOR: "Today, for me, represents, a change in my life."
Sen. Taylor and Quinn Minor file a petition at the Marion
County Superior Court.
Sen. Taylor, Quinn Minor and Rep. William Crawford (D-Indianapolis)
Sen. Taylor and Quinn Minor
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