Oregon Debates Bill on Record Clearing After 20 Years For Class B Crimes

For released offenders who have served their time, a criminal record can often interfere with efforts to get a job or obtain suitable housing. Though expungement of a conviction or sealing a criminal record are certainly possible in Oregon under certain circumstances, those options not as available to as many people as they should be.

Now, however, the Oregon Legislature is working on a bill that would allow people who committed nonviolent property crimes to finally get a clean slate if they have been crime-free for 20 years.

The bill is House Bill 3376, and the Oregon House has already passed it by a vote of 58-0.

The legislation involves nonviolent Class B felonies. It would apply to offenses that include bribery, theft and embezzlement.

The unanimous vote in the House reflects the bill's broad support. A number of the legislators who voted for it are former police officers.

But Oregon district attorneys have differing views about the bill. Josh Marquis, the Clatsop County District Attorney, is concerned about recidivism by ex-financial offenders who are hired to new positions with access to their employers' money.

Another DA, Mike Shrunk of Multnomah County, wants the bill to be more restrictive so that it would not include all nonviolent Class B felons.

House Bill 3376 has prompted debate about Oregon's expungement law for other types of offenses. With the exception of child abuse and sex offense convictions, that law allows for a process of seeking to remove most convictions for misdemeanors and Class C felonies after a given period of time.

The bill is now headed to the Senate, where an amendment to increase the discretion judges have in these cases is possible.


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