Spokane To Allow Removal Of Marijuana Records

WASHINGTON: People who have been convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Spokane will soon be able to have the conviction removed from their criminal record.

The Spokane City Council voted 6-0 on Monday to allow those convictions to be vacated.

The Spokesman-Review says the convictions won’t go away automatically.

City Council President Ben Stuckart says he expects that by early next year people will be able to fill out a form with Spokane’s Municipal Court to vacate the convictions.

Obama Commutes Sentences For 22 Drug Offenders, Including Eight Serving Life

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: President Obama commuted sentences on Tuesday for 22 drug offenders, including eight serving life sentences, doubling the total number of commutations issued during his time in office. Calling their sentences the product of an “outdated” system, the White House acknowledged that defendants convicted of the same crimes under current law would likely face far lighter punishment.

From the Huffington Post:

Tuesday’s announcement marks the beginning of a more aggressive approach on clemency from the White House, which has faced persistent criticism for being slow to grant pardons and commutations. Until Tuesday, Obama had only commuted the sentences of 21 people and pardoned 64, out of thousands of applications received.

The Justice Department expanded its criteria for clemency applicants last year, prioritizing defendants who would have likely been given a shorter prison term had they been sentenced today and who have served at least 10 years behind bars, have had good conduct in prison, have no significant ties to criminal enterprises and have no history of violence or significant criminal history.

Washington: Lawmakers To Consider Measure To Vacate Past Marijuana Convictions

WASHINGTON:  House lawmakers are considering legislation, House Bill 1041 providing for the vacation of past misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

The measure states: “Every person convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offense under RCW 69.50.4014, who was twenty-one years of age or older at the time of the offense, may apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of the applicant’s record of conviction for the offense. The court shall vacate the record of conviction by: (a)(i) Permitting the applicant to withdraw the applicant’s plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty; or (ii) if the applicant has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court setting aside the verdict of guilty; and (b) the court dismissing the information, indictment, complaint, or citation against the applicant and vacating the judgment and sentence.”

Past marijuana offenders should not be saddled with a criminal record for engaging in behavior that is now legal under state law. Please urge your House representative to support HB 1041.

City Attorney Holmes To Seek Dismissal Of All Pot-Use Tickets

WASHINGTON: Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, reacting to one police officer’s personal campaign to write citations for public marijuana use, will announce Monday that he will seek dismissal of more than 85 tickets issued during the first seven months of the year, according to two City Hall sources.

Holmes, who is set to discuss the decision at a briefing of the City Council on Monday morning, will go beyond Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s request to dismiss tickets written by bicycle Officer Randy Jokela and include all infractions, out of fairness to everyone who was cited, according to the sources and briefing materials provided to The Seattle Times.

Jokela, who issued about 80 percent of the $27 tickets for public pot use during the first half of the year, wrote on many of them “*Attn: Petey Holmes*.”


Colorado Court: Some Pot Cases Can Be Overturned

COLORADO:  Some people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can ask for those convictions to be thrown out under the law that legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the state’s second-highest court ruled Thursday.

The Colorado Court of Appeals said people whose cases were under appeal when Amendment 64 on recreational marijuana took effect in December 2012 are eligible to have their convictions reversed.

Brian Vicente, one of the amendment’s authors, called the ruling a “huge victory.” Vicente said Colorado prosecuted as many as 9,000 cases a year for marijuana possession. After pot was decriminalized, a number of appeals were still in the courts.

VIRAL WEB HOAX STORY OF THE WEEK: Colorado Governor Set To Release Those Convicted On Marijuana Related Charges, Expunge Records

HOAX ALERT: While we wish it were true, this trending web story is not true. REPEAT: THIS STORY IS A HOAX:

COLORADO:  With the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado residents proved themselves to be forward thinking, but while residents of the state are busy enjoying their newfound freedoms, little has been done for those serving time on marijuana related charges…until now.  Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (D) has proposed a bill that would have a major impact on the criminal justice system.  Under the new bill, convicts currently serving time on marijuana related charges will be released and the crime expunged from their records. [Read more…]