Chicago Moves Toward Expunging Minor Marijuana Cases

State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced on Tuesday that her office was joining with Code for America to help clear minor marijuana cases.
Chicago Moves Toward Expunging Minor Marijuana Cases
CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 23: Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx speaks with reporters and details the charges against R. Kelly’s first court appearance at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on February 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has rolled out yet another plan to help bring the criminal justice system closer to full parity.

On Tuesday, Chicago’s top prosecutor announced a partnership with Code For America that will push to automatically expunge tens of thousands of minor marijuana cases in Cook County under a new law passed in Illinois.

The move makes Cook County the first outside of California to participate in the Clear My Record program which, according to a press release, helps the government “automatically clear convictions eligible for relief under the law.” Foxx hopes the record clearing service will help to right the wrongs inflicted upon communities of color during the failed “War on Drugs.” Furthermore, the goal is to countermeasure the history of mass incarceration in Illinois.

“The technology and innovation made possible through our partnership with Code for America will help us provide broad and equitable conviction relief for tens of thousands of people while ensuring that more of our time and resources can be used to combat violent crime,” Foxx said in a release. “This partnership is one of many steps Cook County is taking to leverage technology in order to better serve our community and bring our criminal justice system into the 21st century.”

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act which was signed into law in June, made the sweeping plan possible because it legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. The legislation also created a path for the Illinois Attorney General and State’s Attorneys to absolve convictions for those under their administration.

Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America said in a statement, “Code for America’s partnership with Cook County expands our Clear My Record program to a second state and further proves that justice can happen at the scale and speed we know is possible in the digital age.”

She continued, “Thanks to the leadership of State’s Attorney Foxx, we’ll provide conviction relief expeditiously, at reduced cost, and in bulk in Illinois, and help tens of thousands of individuals get a fresh start.”