According to the IEJF, New Leaf Illinois is an alliance of 20 organizations throughout Illinois offering free legal and advisory services to help people clear their cannabis convictions.
Individuals arrested or convicted of misdemeanor or Class 4 felony violations of the Cannabis Control Act are eligible to have those records expunged through one of three processes.
1) Automatic Expungement of Law Enforcement Records: Local law enforcement agencies and the Illinois State Police have up to five years to review and automatically expunge police records for misdemeanor and Class 4 felony charges under 30 grams that did not lead to conviction.Category 1 does not expunge court records, requiring a person to still file a petition to remove those records from public view.
2) Automatic Process for Governor Pardon & Expungement: The Illinois State Police will identify all misdemeanor and Class 4 felony convictions for under 30 grams that do NOT have other arrests for violent offenses in the case or include a penalty enhancement.
The list is vetted by the Prisoner Review Board and presented to the Governor with a confidential, non–binding recommendation on whether to grant a pardon authorizing expungement. If a pardon is granted, the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for filing petitions to expunge in appropriate counties.
3) Petition Process to Vacate and Expunge Through the Courts: All misdemeanor and Class 4 felony convictions are eligible through filing a petition to vacate and expunge in the court of conviction. Category 3 includes convictions that are disqualified from the automatic pardon process on the amount or associated charges. Provides funding for civil legal aid representation for qualifying individuals and allows State’s Attorney’s Offices to also file these motions on behalf of individuals.
The New Leaf Illinois has three objectives.
1) Launch a statewide network featuring a scalable access starting point for any person to find out if they are eligible for cannabis expungement relief and receive a direct referral to the appropriate legal service provider.
2) Ensure people throughout Illinois have access to legal representation, prioritizing jurisdictions with the highest rates of cannabis arrests and convictions based on data from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA).
3) Collect outcome data on the number of people accessing justice throughout the State, providing a system-wide view on the impact of funding and legislation.
New Leaf Illinois is committed to equal justice for all those who were previously arrested or convicted for cannabis use, production, and sale. The expungement process is one step toward repairing the damage caused by the war on drugs which unfairly impacted people of color and the economically disenfranchised.
New Leaf Illinois is proud to partner with civil legal aid and advocacy organizations across the state and committed to righting the wrongs of the war on drugs by bringing free assistance to individuals impacted by cannabis convictions.
The initiative’s funding was included in the 2019 Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act. that was signed into law July 25, 2019.
For more information visit NewLeafIllinois.org to register online or with a phone call to 855-963-9532 to register over the phone.
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