Celebrating 40 Years:
THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY APPLAUDS NEW JERSEY FOR RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS TO RESIDENTS ON PAROLE OR PROBATION AND EXPANDING THE EXPUNGEMENT LAWS.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2019
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) applauds the New Jersey Assembly and Senate for passing two bills, which benefit the Latinx community: 1) restoring voting rights to residents on parole or probation (A5823/S4260); and 2) revising and expanding expungement eligibility and procedures (A5981/S4154). On December 18, 2019, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed both bills into law.
In a press release discussing the passing of both legislations, Governor Murphy said: “Our Administration is deeply committed to transforming our criminal justice system, and today we are taking a historic step to give residents impacted by that system a second chance. I am proud to sign one of the most progressive expungement laws in the nation, which will allow more New Jerseyans the opportunity to fully engage in our society. I am also proud to enact legislation that will restore voting rights to over 80,000 residents on probation or parole, allowing them to fully participate in our democracy.”
With these two bills, New Jersey aims to restore some of the racial disparities of the criminal justice system. The expungement bill creates a new “clean slate” petition for residents who have not committed an offense in 10 years and do not have a conviction for a crime that is not subject to expungement. The bill also eliminates expungement filing fees and creates an e-filing system. To implement the new provisions of the expungement law, the bill also appropriates $15 million to the Department of Law and Public Safety. Further, as a result of the restoration of voting rights bill, which is effective March 17, 2020, approximately 80,000 residents, who are on parole or probation, will have their right to vote restored.
HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox noted: “Through the passage of these bills, historically disenfranchised groups, like the Latinx community, who are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system, will have their right to vote restored. 2020 will be a historic presidential election year for our nation, and these citizens will have the opportunity to take part of our democracy by exercising their constitutional right to vote. Similarly, the expansion of the expungement law allows residents to reintegrate fully into our society. The HBA-NJ applauds the New Jersey legislature and Governor Murphy for leading criminal justice reform in our great State.”
About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.
The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101