Bill expunging non-violent felony records clears Ky. House - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bill expunging non-violent felony records clears Ky. House committee

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill that would allow a person's felony record to be erased has passed a Kentucky House committee.

House Bill 64 would allow a person to ask a court to wipe out his or her felony conviction five years after completing the entire sentence. Those who've been convicted of crimes involving a child, sex crimes, or a crime against the elderly would not be eligible.

Lawmakers heard emotional testimony from non-violent felons who argue they're forever punished because of crimes they committed decades ago.

"I'm not a dangerous person," said Wayne Saylor, who was convicted in 1985 for possession of cocaine. It was his first and only defense.

"I don't steal, I don't destroy property and I don't use drugs. I've changed. People change," said Saylor, who told the House Judiciary Committee he hasn't gotten so much as a parking ticket in the last 29 years.

Saylor could not find a job after getting laid off from IBM in 2007.

"A felony conviction is economic capital punishment," Saylor said.

Alice Brown also spoke to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. She is a class D felon, and has been a registered nurse for 20 years.

But because of her conviction, Brown cannot even serve as a chaperone for the Special Olympics event at her autistic daughter's school.

"In reality, I was indiscreetly given a life sentence," Brown said.

Ky. Supreme Court Justice Will Scott spoke in favor of the bill saying the internet has made it impossible for anyone to escape their past.

"No matter where you want to go to recreate your self worth, the information about you and your past will be there before you get there," Scott said.

Felons can request to have their records wiped clean in 24 other states.

"If the American dream is about anything -- and I assure you it is -- it's about those people who have earned it having a second chance," Scott argued.

Current Kentucky law only allows a court to seal misdemeanor cases.  The bill moves onto the full House for consideration.

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