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Mar 07, 2019

Alameda County Criminal Attorney Elliot Silver Praises San Francisco DA for Clearing Marijuana Convictions

Bay Area criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver applauded the February 25 announcement by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón that the city had successfully partnered with Code for America to expunge 8,132 marijuana-related convictions. “Through Proposition 64, Californians in 2016 voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis,” Silver said. “The District Attorney’s decision to leverage innovation in order to expedite the exoneration of those convicted of marijuana crimes sets the bar for other counties in California.”

AB 1793, signed into law in 2018, mandates that the California Department of Justice identify convictions eligible for reclassification or dismissal by July 2019. It also requires courts to take action, although prosecutors have until July 2020 to object to consideration of specific cases. Silver says that this timeline disadvantages those whose cannabis convictions are negatively impacting their lives. “While the wheels of justice are slowly turning, there are people who are suffering,” he said. Noting that a conviction often translates to a lack of access to jobs, housing, and financial services, Silver said, “A streamlined expungement process allows people – often multiply marginalized folks who are disproportionately convicted of drug crimes – to reclaim their lives and contribute to their communities.”

While individuals can achieve a comparable outcome by petitioning the court for reclassification, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation of their cannabis convictions, most don’t know how to navigate the legal system. Silver, whose firm routinely helps clients with Proposition 64 expungements, urges other counties to follow San Francisco’s lead. “By applying algorithms to digitized criminal records, counties can easily determine who is eligible for Prop 64 relief,” he said. “That’s an important first step in delivering the long-overdue justice that those with cannabis convictions deserve.”

If you’ve been charged with a crime, contact Attorney Elliot Silver today.

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