December 29, 2020
JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that he presented a Motion today before Chief Judge Kennedy to expunge the records of 1,653 low-level cannabis possession cases involving misdemeanor possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis. Chief Judge Kennedy signed the Order to Expunge upon receipt of Glasgow’s Motion. The expungements are the result of a cooperative effort between the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Will County Twelfth Judicial Circuit, and Will County Circuit Clerk Andrea Lynn Chasteen.
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 law requires the Illinois State Police, Prisoner Review Board, and Illinois Attorney General to identify and expunge eligible low-level cannabis offense records, arrests, charges, and/or convictions according to the following schedule:
· January 1, 2021, for offenses occurring between January 1, 2013, and June 25, 2019.
· 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 gives Illinois State’s Attorneys the authority to expedite the expungement process by filing a motion to vacate and expunge eligible offenses. The records expunged under today’s Order involve low-level cannabis offenses occurring between January 1, 2013 and June 25, 2019. State’s Attorney Glasgow will file additional motions to address the remaining cases set to be expunged in advance of the time frames set by the statute.
“Expunging criminal records of people with the low-level cannabis convictions addressed in today’s Order will help these individuals move forward with their lives and place their convictions permanently behind them,” Glasgow said. “Today’s Order is a step in removing barriers to those who have been impacted as a result of having a criminal record based on these low-level cannabis possession cases. Back in 1998, I successfully wrote the grant creating Will County’s Drug Court, and spearheaded each of our other Problem Solving Courts as well. I truly understand the importance of removing obstacles and providing opportunities. That is exactly what today’s Order will do for those whose records will be expunged.”
In signing the Order, Chief Judge Kennedy stated, “Restorative justice is important to Will County and to our society as a whole. These expungements demonstrate our commitment to this principle.”
Individuals who wish to find out whether their records will be expunged under the Order may contact the Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office at circuitclerkofwillcounty.com, or by calling 815-727-8592. The Order addresses offenses involving possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis that occurred between January 1, 2013 and June 25, 2019.
“We will be working hard to provide the certainty these people are seeking that their case has, indeed, been expunged,” said Circuit Clerk Andrea Chasteen. “This is just one step in a multi-year process of expunging thousands of records for low-level marijuana possession offenses. Our office is doing everything we can to ensure this rolling process runs smoothly and efficiently.”
Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant applauded today’s action. “This effort is a testament to our Will County officials working together for the benefit of our community. Three offices were involved in this collaborative effort. I thank them for this step in helping provide certainty and an opportunity to the people whose cases are expunged.”
Although the Act also gives authority to expunge class 4 felony and misdemeanor cannabis delivery offenses, the motion to vacate and expunge addressed simple cannabis possession cases that are not associated with felony charges or offenses outlined by the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act.
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