City officials concerned important deadlines will be missed due to a lack of much-needed funding
Missouri courts are in danger of missing marijuana expungement deadlines if they don’t receive more funding, according to a report by local news outlet KRCG. The report states that the state courts are facing a backlog of expungement cases due to an increase in the number of individuals seeking to have their marijuana charges expunged following the state’s legalization of medical marijuana.
The implications of this backlog could be significant for individuals wishing to have their charges expunged. Without the timely processing of their requests, individuals may face continued legal barriers, such as difficulty in finding employment, obtaining housing, or even obtaining loans. This delay could also have a broader societal impact, as it may prevent individuals from fully reintegrating into society and contributing to the economy.
The issue of expungement in Missouri is not a new one. In 2018, Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. The amendment also included a provision allowing individuals with past marijuana convictions to have their records expunged. The provision allows individuals to petition the court for expungement of a prior marijuana-related offense if it is no longer a crime under Missouri law.
However, the process of expungement has been slow in Missouri. The KRCG report notes that the state’s courts have struggled to keep up with the increasing number of expungement requests, in part due to a lack of funding. Without additional funding, the courts may not be able to process these requests in a timely manner, potentially leaving many individuals in legal limbo.
Key figures involved in the issue include Missouri’s Governor Mike Parson and the state’s Chief Justice, George W. Draper III. Both have acknowledged the need for additional funding to address the backlog of expungement cases. In a statement to KRCG, Governor Parson said, “It’s important that we address this backlog and ensure that Missourians have access to the expungement process as intended by the law.”
Chief Justice Draper has also expressed his concerns, stating in a letter to lawmakers that “Missouri courts continue to face significant challenges in managing increasing caseloads with limited resources.” He went on to note that “inadequate funding of the courts ultimately harms the public and undermines the constitutional mandate for equal access to justice.”
To address the issue, Missouri lawmakers have proposed a bill that would provide additional funding for the state’s courts. The bill, known as Senate Bill 60, would allocate $1.5 million in funding to the courts to hire additional staff and improve technology. If passed, the bill would help to alleviate the backlog of expungement cases and ensure that individuals can access the expungement process as intended by the law.
Indeed, the backlog of expungement cases in Missouri’s courts is a significant issue that could have far-reaching implications for individuals seeking to have their marijuana charges expunged. Without additional funding, the courts may not be able to process these requests in a timely manner, potentially leaving many individuals in legal limbo. The proposed Senate Bill 60 would provide much-needed funding to address this issue and ensure that individuals can access the expungement process as intended by the law.