Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Expungement bill envisioned by UAA Justice grad attending Vermont Law School is signed into Vermont law

Governor Shumlin (center) signing the bill in Montpelier. Nessabeth Rooks (left)
and Karen Oelschlaeger (right) look on with Professor Sand (left of Rooks)
and Adjunct Professor David Cahill (far right).
Nessabeth Rooks, Justice BA '14, is currently attending Vermont Law School. She and her classmate Karen Oelschlaeger are in the Accelerated JD program.  Nessabeth and Karen originally created an expungement bill for Vermont while students in Professor Robert Sand's ‪Criminal Law‬ class.

The bill was signed into law on May 26 by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. Nessabeth and Karen envisioned an earned expungement program to encourage ex-offenders to engage in prosocial activities and reconnect with their community.

The process and the bill:
Nessabeth and Karen developed the idea of an earned expungement program for non-violent offenders while in Prof. Sand's Criminal Law class. Prof. Sand arranged for them to present the idea to Governor Shumlin last fall. The Governor had a very positive response to the idea of earned expungement. Prof. Sand and Nessabeth then reworked the outline and details of the proposed earned expungement bill and were able to get a sponsor to assist them in the Vermont Legislature. The bill that ultimately passed expanded the list of crimes that qualified for expungement after 10 years. Conduct that is no longer criminal became expungeable after 1 year. It also included an amendment proposed by Nessabeth allowing young offenders - under the age of 25 at the time of the offense - to earn expungement in half the time - 5 years instead of 10 years - through proactive, prosocial activities.

See the Vermont Law School Facebook post.