Expungement bill passes House Judiciary Committee

Hearing delayed for judge accused of misconduct
Hearing delayed for judge accused of misconduct

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bill that would require automatic expungement of acquittals and dismissals of criminal charges under Kentucky law has passed the House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 327 would require automatic expungement in eligible cases per court orders entered after the legislation takes effect, should it become law. Those eligible for expungement under the bill would be able to request that the acquittal or dismissal remain on their record, while individuals with past acquittals and dismissals would be allowed to petition the court for expungement at no cost to them.

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Expungement of felony charges that do not result in an indictment after one year of being held over to a grand jury would be allowed at a court’s discretion.

HB 327 sponsor Rep. Kevin D. Bratcher, R-Louisville, told the committee that his bill “corrects something that I certainly did not know was going on and I’ll bet you that most of your constituents don’t know,” referring to the absence of automatic expungement for acquittals and dismissals under current state law.

Among those testifying alongside Bratcher was Charles Aull of Greater Louisville Inc., the Louisville Metro area’s Chamber of Commerce. Aull said HB 327—which, he stated, also has the support of the Kentucky Chamber among other organizations—would remove barriers “to work and to increasing labor force participation.”

When asked by Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville, what filing fee would be required for those who must still petition for expungement, Aull said there is none. That response was followed by a comment from House Judiciary Chair Jason Petrie, R-Elkton.

“If the Commonwealth has brought all its resources to bear against an individual, and fell short of a conviction, then why should that (person) … do much of anything to correct the Commonwealth’s shortfall,” Petrie said.

HB 327 passed the committee by a vote of 22-0-0. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.