NY top judge backs clearing some criminal records

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s top jurist wants to clear old misdemeanors from court records of people who don’t get re-arrested for seven years and various non-violent felonies for people who stay out of trouble for a decade.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman says research shows the risk of committing new offenses drops steadily with time, and individuals after 10 years without trouble are no more likely than anyone else to get arrested.

However, Lippman says the stigma from a criminal record lingers in employment, professional licensing and government benefits.

He wants the Legislature to approve clearing those old records of low-level crimes, except sex offenses, public corruption and drunken driving.

Court administrators on April 1 plan to stop disclosing 10-year-old misdemeanors to screening companies seeking background information about individuals with no other convictions and no re-arrests.

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