Friday, June 15, 2012
HB1176 reforms Drug and Mental Health Courts, Expungement, Sentencing Reform
5:52 pm edt
Portions of Georgia
Sentencing Lawl Reform Act, HB1176 begin to take effect July 1, 2012. The new law institutes several important reforms,
including drug courts, mental health courts, changes in offense definitions and sentencing for illegal drugs, burglary, forgery,
theft by taking and shoplifting. The law on expungement begins to change July 1, 2012 and will completely reform July 2013.
County magistrates will get concurrent jurisdiction on several misdemeanor offenses. Probation supervision will be more closely
regulated and geared to the specific needs of the individual probationer's case.
Here is my summary of Georgia HB1176
Some complain that the Georgia Legislature's, steps through HB1176,
making it easier to restrict a criminal record from public view, also known as "expungement" is wrong; a form of
censorship. They couldn't be more wrong. For years, many good people have lost their jobs, ability to get better jobs, or
access higher education opportunities because, repeatedly, their criminal background checks were wrongly interpreted and used
against them. Their criminal cases may have been long ago dismissed, or they have recovered and been rehabilitated from minor
offenses. Their interest in advancing their lives certainly overrides absurd claims of censorship. Further, frequently today,
websites are appearing for the sole purpose of publishing records of arrests and mugshots, without regard as to whether the
criminal case was dismissed. These sites are not designed to be a public service. Rather, they extort these individuals into
paying money, around $100.00 per site, for the privilege of removing their mugshots and personal information from their opportunistic
websites. I won't help their cause by linking to them. But if you want examples, you can find them. I hope this reform will
serve to restrict their unscrupulous tactics as well as assist good people in furthering their lives in a positive way.