Patrick D. Kenneally to Alleviate Burden on State Agencies by Moving to Vacate and Expunge Cannabis Cases Early
January 6, 2020
PATRICK D. KENNEALLY TO ALLEVIATE BURDEN ON STATE AGENCIES BY MOVING TO VACATE AND EXPUNGE CANNABIS CASES EARLY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
On Monday, January 6, 2020, Patrick D. Kenneally, State’s Attorney of McHenry County, filed a petition to vacate and expunge certain cannabis convictions pursuant to the newly enacted Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB 1438), which was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on June 25, 2019. The Act, which not only legalizes recreational cannabis use and sales, compels the Illinois State Police, Prisoner Review Board, and Illinois Attorney General to identify and expunge certain cannabis offense records, arrests, charges, and/or convictions. These expungements will be automatic for certain offenses (misdemeanors) while the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Offices will be able to object to the felony offenses, if warranted.
A provision in the newly modified expungement statute, 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(i)(4), gives the McHenry County State’s Attorney, Patrick D. Kenneally, authority to expedite the expungement process by filing a motion to vacate and expunge eligible offenses. While the statute gives authority to expunge class 4 felony and misdemeanor cannabis delivery offenses, Kenneally will only be filing a motion to vacate and expunge simple cannabis possession misdemeanors that are not associated with felony charges or offenses outlined by the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act. In sum, the State’s Attorney’s Office will be seeking to vacate and expunge 1,877 low level misdemeanor convictions that redressed conduct which is now legal.
McHenry County State’s Attorney, Patrick D. Kenneally, stated, “[t]hough the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office considers most of the provisions of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, especially those pertaining to the legalization and commercialization of marijuana, to be deeply flawed and unwarranted, a serious public health risk, and a safety risk that will undoubtedly result in more deaths on our roadways, we do not necessarily object to expunging a defendant’s minor criminal convictions after a reasonable period of time. Moreover, we regard it as our duty to zealously enforce and effectuate the purposes of the duly enacted laws of Illinois irrespective of our own reservations and those of law enforcement more broadly.”
The motion was filed with the McHenry County Circuit Court and assigned to the Chief Judge of McHenry County, the Honorable James Cowlin, who signed an order and allowed the expungements. All defendants who have had their offenses expunged will be notified by the McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office by mail.