Nonprofit Legal Services Groups Help Get Pot Offense Records Sealed in NYC

In a class action suit that plaintiffs are hoping will become a model for the rest of the state, attorneys from nonprofit and pro-bono legal-services groups in Manhattan have [...] petitioned for and won a settlement that will seal the records of hundreds of people convicted on marijuana charges.

News Story (New York)

Ruth McCambridge
Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ)
August 11, 2019

Tags: Expungement / Record Sealing

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City)


While only 350 people are affected directly by this ruling, thousands more could benefit if other New York jurisdictions pursue similar action.

The change was made possible by a provision of New York’s Raise the Age Act, a package of criminal-justice reforms signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, in 2017. Under the law, people who were convicted of up to two nonviolent, low-level offenses, but had no other contact with the criminal-justice system for a decade, are eligible to petition local authorities to seal the convictions on their records, rendering them invisible to anyone except for law enforcement.