February 7, 2020
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and Will County Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt today announced a cooperative effort between the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Will County Twelfth Judicial Circuit, along with the assistance of Will County Circuit Clerk Andrea Lynn Chasteen, to vacate and expunge cannabis cases eligible for automatic expungement under the new Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB 1438), which took effect January 1, 2020.
Under the new law legalizing recreational cannabis use and sales, expungement is automatic for cases involving possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. The Illinois State Police, Prisoner Review Board, and Illinois Attorney General are required by the statute to identify and expunge eligible low-level cannabis offense records, arrests, charges, and/or convictions according to the following:
- January 1, 2021, for offenses occurring between January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2020.
- January 1, 2023, for offenses occurring between January 1, 2000, and January 1, 2013.
- January 1, 2025, for offenses occurring before January 1, 2000.
The statute also gives Illinois State’s Attorneys the authority to expedite the expungement process by filing a motion to vacate and expunge eligible offenses. State’s Attorney Glasgow and Chief Judge Schoenstedt have agreed to a motion to vacate and expunge simple, low-level cannabis possession cases under this provision.
“Our motion will expedite the process created under state statute, assist our law enforcement community, and provide certainty early on to individuals who may be unsure about the status of their prior low-level cannabis possession cases,” Glasgow said. “Having written Will County’s original Drug Court grant way back in 1998, I have always believed that those who are victims of drug abuse must be treated in a fair, just, and compassionate manner. This motion allows these individuals to finally put these convictions permanently behind them and to get on with their lives.”
Glasgow said he anticipates filing a motion in March that will apply to all low-level cannabis possession cases involving offenses between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2020 eligible for automatic expungement. He also anticipates addressing low-level cannabis possession cases from earlier years in a subsequent motion.
“Streamlining the process for individuals for whom the question was not if, but simply when, their records will be expunged serves everyone – the judicial system, law enforcement, and those individuals eligible for expungement of their cases,” Judge Schoenstedt said. “We recognize the importance of restorative justice in Will County, and this joint effort is one example of working cooperatively in our community to assist those who need it most.”
Chief Judge Schoenstedt has agreed to sign an order approving Glasgow’s motion.
Although the Act also gives authority to expunge class 4 felony and misdemeanor cannabis delivery offenses, State’s Attorney Glasgow will only be filing a motion to vacate and expunge simple cannabis possession cases that are not associated with felony charges or offenses outlined by the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act. After the motion to vacate and expunge is filed and approved, all defendants who have had their cases expunged will be notified by the Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office by mail.