May 26, 2020
Despite having limited resources due to the pandemic, the Santa Clara County court system will be expunging cannabis-related convictions.
An announcement from Santa Clara County, California stated the court system will expunge approximately 11,500 marijuana-related convictions. This involves sealing records for more than 9,000 residents. These individuals won’t need to make requests or have any involvement in the process. It will be handled exclusively by the county.
This follows regulations mandated by the state of California such as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This Act, also known as Proposition 64, decriminalized the personal possession of marijuana for recreational use. Its passage meant that certain types of convictions were for deeds that are no longer deemed criminal offenses. Lawmakers have been working on plans to expunge those records.
When a criminal record is expunged, it ceases to be publicly available. Hiring managers may not consider sealed convictions while making any type of employment or business decision.
Every employer is encouraged to run criminal background checks before bringing on employees, volunteers or contractors. Organizations in California should be aware that counties such as Santa Clara are actively working to expunge eligible convictions. Once this task is complete, those records cannot be included on any consumer report.
The Second Chance Movement has been growing throughout America. Expunging outdated, minor and irrelevant convictions is an important aspect. This has become more difficult due to court closures and the need for sheltering in place.
However, efforts to help people obtain second chances continue during the pandemic. For many, this is essential. Millions of Americans are currently unemployed and will be looking for new jobs when they are able to do so. By expunging criminal records, people gain opportunities to be interviewed and considered for positions as businesses throughout the country start to reopen.
Several states have been working to educate former convicts on how to expunge criminal records. A few communities developed door-to-door campaigns to deliver their message. Since that is no longer possible, some organizations are taking advantage of the internet to maintain their momentum.
Virtual clinics are being held on Zoom and other platforms. These tools are utilized to deliver explanations on how to file expungement requests, allow people to check-in with parole officers and even offer online courses that satisfy community service requirements.
There could be limitations. Concerns have been expressed that poor communities may not have access to attend these virtual courses. Language barriers might cause additional complications. However, until other resources are available again, online options will be used to reach as many people as possible.
As more people return to the workforce, employers continue to rely on background checks to protect their customers, staff and best interests. It is equally essential for hiring managers to ensure they only review current and reportable records.
When you’re ready to run background checks, please contact us. We’ll work with your staff to build custom screening solutions that help you make informed decisions and build strong teams. We are currently available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.