WHEREAS, criminal-record expungement and sealing laws are an increasingly utilized reform to allow persons who have come into contact with the criminal justice system to move on from their past and have equal access to employment and housing, unburdened by the stigma of a criminal record years later; and
WHEREAS, arrest records and other documents relating to a criminal case often remain accessible to the public even though the case has been resolved favorably to the defendant and the defendant has not been convicted of any offense; and
WHEREAS, under such circumstances, the burden should not fall on the defendant to seek expungement of the arrest records and other documents relating to the criminal case; rather, the burden should be on the police, State's attorney and court system to expunge such records from their records without any request from the defendant; and
WHEREAS, even when a person's criminal record has been officially expunged and sealed, the information often remains available on the internet because third parties have republished the information, and the availability of that information can harm the person's employment and housing prospects, among other possible harms; and
WHEREAS, automatic internet crawlers operate as a powerful internet search tool that could be usefully deployed to locate and remove from the internet records that have been expunged and /or sealed by the court system; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate for automatic expungement of criminal records when a defendant has not been convicted of the charges offense(s).
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate for the deployment of web crawler applications to locate and remove from the internet, and otherwise to correct in the public record, information relating to expunged and sealed criminal records.