Is Illinois Poised to Expand the Number of Sealable Felony Crimes?

IL Poised to Expand List of Sealable Felony Crimes

The last time Illinois expanded its list of sealable felony crimes was in 2014.  That law only added a handful of felony offenses to the list. That may all change if Governor Bruce Rauner signs House Bill (HB) 2373 into law. He has until August 26, 2017, to act.

HB 2373 is set to cause the largest expansion of the state’s sealing rules. For the first time felony crimes of violence will be sealable (e.g., aggravated battery, murder). In addition, all felony drug offenses (regardless of its class), residential burglary, and burglary will be sealable. If signed by Gov. Rauner, HB 2373 goes into effect January 1, 2018.

Some crimes, felony and misdemeanor, still will remain unsealable: felony and misdemeanor domestic battery, violation of orders of protection, DUI, crimes requiring current registration as a sex offender, cruelty to animals.

Fewer People Will Need Clemency Should HB 2373 Go Into Effect

Should the HB 2373 become law, far fewer individuals will need to seek clemency. For a significant number of people, clemency is the only way for them to clear their criminal background so that they can "pass" a background check. With the governor granting few clemencies, passage of HB 2373 has taken on greater urgency.

Immediate Sealing Bill

Another bill sent to the Governor for signature is HB 514. This bill would allow someone to immediately seal a criminal court record after a case is dismissed. It is unclear why the legislature passed HB 514 since dismissed cases are eligible to expunge. It would not be my recommendation to seal a case that can be expunged.

If you or someone you know would benefit from HB 2373 becoming law, I encourage you to write Gov. Rauner and urge him to sign the HB 2373. Letters can be mailed to: Governor Bruce Rauner, Office of Governor, 207 State House, Springfield, IL 62706. Alternatively, you can contact the governor at 217-782-0244.

Now is the time to speak up and be heard.