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September 10, 2018 / Brooklyn news / Leaves of Grass

A new leaf: DA to begin vacating some misdemeanor pot convictions

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It’s puff, puff, free pass in Kings County!

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is giving some convicted stoners a chance to clear their record with a new policy that takes a retroactive approach to decriminalizing marijuana.

Brooklyn’s top prosecutor said he will start vacating certain lesser pot convictions this month, following his decision earlier this year to stop prosecuting many folks caught toking in public in an expansion of the non-prosecution policy implemented in 2014 by his predecessor, the late Ken Thompson.

“As we move away from criminalizing low-level possession and use of marijuana, we cannot forget those who carry a conviction for conduct that is no longer being prosecuted,” Gonzalez said. “It is only fair to relieve these individuals of that burden, and allow them to turn over a new leaf and move on with their lives.”

Brooklynites already convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses can clear their records by attending one of the district attorney’s Begin Again events — another Thompson-instituted initiative that gives folks a chance to get rid of outstanding summonses — at which defense lawyers will assist them in filing motions that Gonzalez’s office will review before taking to court, where prosecutors will consent to vacating the conviction and dropping the underlying charges.

Folks seeking to expunge their convictions do not have to go before a judge, according to Gonzalez’s spokesman Oren Yaniv, who noted his boss’s new policy is the first of its kind in the state.

The record cleaning does not extend to all stoners, however — people convicted of smoking while driving, as well as anyone convicted of a sex offense or certain violent felonies can not submit motions under the new policy.

Gonzalez will start vacating wacky tobaccy–related convictions at a Sept. 21–22 Begin Again session, when he said he plans to vacate 3,438 open warrants for pot busts that occurred before Sept. 1, when the city started issuing summonses instead of arresting folks caught lighting up in public under a mayoral policy instituted in June.

Get your record cleaned at Lenox Road Baptist Church [1356 Nostrand Ave. between Lenox Road and Linden Boulevard in Flatbush, (718) 941–3359] Sept. 21 and 22, 9 am to 3 pm.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, September 10, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
We tried this already in the 1970’s, and it led to 2,000 murders a year in NYC. Here we go again.
Sept. 10, 10:15 am
S from Clinton Hill says:
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

Nixon advisor John Ehrlichman, on the decision to declare a "War on Drugs" in 1971
Sept. 10, 3:34 pm
√Z from Z√ says:
I wish the first commenter was murdered.
Sept. 10, 4:45 pm
√Z from Z√ says:
No thanks, freak!
Sept. 10, 9:33 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Of course not, you sniveling, pathetic, coward.
Sept. 11, 1:09 pm
√Z from Z√ says:
⬆⬆⬆Dotard talking to himself again⬆⬆⬆
Sept. 11, 4:58 pm

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