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250 Pasadena Marijuana-Related Criminal Cases Dismissed

City reviewed more than 24,000 cases dating back to 1947

Published on Friday, February 14, 2020 | 4:45 am
 
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, at left, and Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris on Thursday announced dismissal of marijuana cases.

As part of the effort that led to the dismissal of 66,000 marijuana cases, 250 Pasadena cases were also dismissed according to City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris.

On Thursday, Los Angeles County prosecutors announced they used technology to wipe out about 66,000 old marijuana convictions.

Minorities have long been the target of marijuana arrests and drug busts and were prosecuted at higher numbers than whites during the war on drugs.

“The city of Pasadena City Prosecutor’s Office reviewed more than 240,000 records dating back to 1947 furnished to the Office by the California Department of Justice,” Bagneris told Pasadena Now.

“After several months of review, Pasadena city prosecutors identified more than 200 people who were potentially eligible for dismissal of their previous marijuana convictions. The City Prosecutor’s Office then reviewed these cases to verify eligibility. After verification of eligibility, our office authorized the District Attorney to dismiss the cases for each of these individuals, amounting to approximately 250 Pasadena City Prosecutor cases being dismissed as part of the LADA’s Clear My Record pilot program.”

According to Bagneris, only marijuana crimes were dismissed. If the cases included other non-marijuana convictions, the marijuana portion of the case will be dismissed, without affecting the other charges in a particular case.

“The dismissal of the old cannabis-related convictions brings relief to individuals and communities that have disproportionately suffered from the consequences of the War on Drugs and assists these individuals in rebuilding and moving forward with their lives,” Bagneris said. “None of the defendants affected in cases handled by the City Prosecutor’s Office are currently incarcerated for these offenses.”

The city’s illegal cannabis dispensary cases are not part of this program and those cases are not being dismissed.

To find out if your record has been cleared, or for more information about this initiative, contact the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office by phone at (323) 760-6763 or visit pubdef.lacounty.gov.

Code for America, a nonprofit tech organization which uses computer algorithms to find eligible cases that are otherwise hard to identify in decades-old court documents helped locate the cases. The group has offered its Clear My Record technology free to all 58 state district attorneys.

The computer program identifies eligible cases, and automatically fills out forms to file with the courts. It can analyze conviction eligibility for about 10,000 people per minute, instead of requiring county employees to dig through individual records.

Prop. 64 and AB 1793 mandates the dismissal of eligible marijuana cases by July 1.

“The D.A. went beyond the minimum requirements of the statute and included additional categories of marijuana cases appropriate for dismissal prior to the July 2020 date. In accordance with these provisions and the D.A.’s added categories,” Bagneris said.

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