Richard Boykin Calls For Automatic Expungement For Those Who Had Charges Dropped, Dismissed

Craig Dellimore
February 17, 2020 - 5:20 pm
Richard Boykin, is among advocates for people with criminal backgrounds who are calling for automatic expungement for thousands of people who’ve had minor criminal charges against them dropped or dismissed.

WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A candidate for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk is among advocates for people with criminal backgrounds who are calling for automatic expungement for thousands of people who’ve had minor criminal charges against them dropped or dismissed.

Former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, who’s running for court clerk, said eight out of 10 misdemeanor cases were dismissed between 2006 and 2012. But he and others note, the arrest records often remain, blocking people from employment, housing, or more.

Boykin and Congressman Danny Davis are both calling for automatic expungement of cases in which charges have been dropped, and the state’s attorney doesn’t object.

"I believe it is restorative justice when we have an individual who has been arrested, but had those charges dropped by the State's Attorney's Office. Within 120 days, those charges would automatically be expunged," Boykin said.

The State's Attorney would also have the right to object.

Boykin and Davis said the remaining criminal records can still be a major roadblock.

Benny Lee
WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore

Benny Lee, a former gang member who now helps people with criminal records, used his own example. He has since earned a Master’s degree and is an adjunct professor at a college.

"Northeastern Illinois University found fit to hire me as an adjunct professor, where I teach in the justice studies department. But if I went inside of a Walmart and they had a policy where they don't hire people with convictions in their background, they might deny me a job as a stock boy," he said.

Victor Dickson head of the Safer Foundation, which works with people with criminal records, said people just want normal lives.

The advocates said this is an issue that disproportionally affects black and Latino people and must be addressed.