Utah lawmaker proposes ‘clean slate’ law to automatically wipe away nonviolent criminal records

SALT LAKE CITY — When a decide asked Catie Cartisano’s father what it was wish to see his daughter in handcuffs, his reply was that it “was better than a funeral.”

“I’ll never forget that,” stated Cartisano, 33.

That very same decide ordered Cartisano to attend remedy for a 3rd time, which, at the time, appeared insurmountable to her.

She was begging for a jail sentence.

“I keep in mind who I used to be. I felt like I had no selection,” she stated. “I never ever thought I might be the place I’m at the moment.”

Catie Cartisano is photographed at her office in Murray on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Cartisano, who is 10 years sober, had her criminal record expunged.

Laura Seitz, Deseret Information

Catie Cartisano is photographed at her office in Murray on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Cartisano, who is 10 years sober, had her legal report expunged.

Cartisano was 23 on the time and had already hung out in jail twice for expenses related to her drug habit, a behavior that began with marijuana and cocaine use at age 15. She stated the decide’s trust in her gave her hope.

“I don’t know the place I might be,” she stated. “I might in all probability nonetheless be in there, if I was even alive.”

Cartisano stated, “Getting sober was like the hardest thing I’ve ever needed to do, to have to vary each part of my life once I already felt to date behind.”

Medicine had consumed each a part of her life. Although she did all the things she might to wash up her behavior and all the mistakes it led to, Cartisano couldn’t escape her document.

“It was this shameful, dark part of me that I didn’t need to inform,” she stated, including that every time she utilized for something, “it was so traumatizing and embarrassing to deliver up what I had finished.

“I just give up making an attempt because I knew I might be judged for something I used to be so desperately making an attempt to vary. It adopted me in all places.”

The Utah expungement course of requires a person to stay crime-free for a certain period of time, but in addition apply for eligibility, petition the courts in the jurisdictions the place offenses have been dedicated and pay in accordance charges. It can be intimidating and cumbersome, take a very long time and get quite pricey, depending on the severity and number of offenses an individual has.

And if time runs out on Utah’s ninety-day eligibility certification, the entire course of has to start out over.

“A lot of people start and by no means end as a result of there are plenty of steps to it,” stated Noella Sudbury, director of the Salt Lake County Felony Justice Advisory Council, which hosted an occasion final yr to assist about one hundred individuals expunge their data.

In reality, hundreds of Utahns are eligible to have their data cleared, however annually, only a small proportion of them apply and lots of by no means full the method.

Sudbury is behind a bill, HB431, sponsored by Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, on the Utah Legislature that may routinely expunge sure misdemeanor crimes after a lot time has passed, liberating up time for the courts to work on the weightier instances that want more consideration and research.

“Too many Utahns are serving what quantities to a life sentence of being…

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