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R.I. House passes bill to "destroy" criminal cases

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  1. Freedom of Information
The R.I. House recently passed a bill that would expunge the criminal records of people who have received deferred sentences,…

The R.I. House recently passed a bill that would expunge the criminal records of people who have received deferred sentences, or who were found not guilty or had their cases dismissed. The bill passed 46 to 17, and has been sent to the Senate.

Under the bill, deferred cases would automatically be "quashed and destroyed" five years after the deferral period started, regardless of the crime’s severity. In debates over the bill, two representative expressed concern that the bill would interfere with the public’s right to judicial information. Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt said that the bill could prevent newspapers from publishing information that is common knowledge. The bill was also reportedly opposed by the police, attorney general and governor.