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Michigan AG offers suggestions to remove certain crimes from criminal records

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently recommended changes to bills on expunging criminal records. The bills are up for debate in the state Legislature.

At a Tuesday hearing in front of a House Judicial committee, Nessel said she is, overall, in support of expanding the state’s laws to set aside some crimes on a person’s criminal record. But she had ideas that she said could improve the bills.

One area of concern was a bill to automatically remove certain crimes from a person’s record after 10 years.

“Who is it who will monitor or supervise the Michigan State Police to ensure that these convictions are automatically set aside? Secondly, realistically, how is this going to work?” she said.

Nessel added that a lot of the information is kept in local courts and communication could be broken down between those offices and MSP. She's concerned the bill could subject the state to lawsuits if people’s records are not expunged.

Another area of concern raised by Nessel was what crimes could be expunged and are exempt from expungement. Nessel says some of the exceptions in the bills for particular crimes that can be expunged are confusing. For example, some assault crimes might be expunged but a variety of traffic offenses cannot.

To say that they can be expunged but not a traffic offense that occurs in a work zone?” Nessel said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”