Opinions Vary on New Expungement Law

Beginning July 1, certain nonviolent ex-offenders in Tennessee can apply to have their records expunged after paying a $350 fee. A story in the Commercial Appeal shows that reaction has been mixed. Frank Cantrell, general counsel for Memphis Area Legal Services, is quoted as saying "I think most people in the legal aid community would say we needed a bill like this" since prior to its passage, "it was nearly impossible to get a conviction expunged in Tennessee, even a misdemeanor." But he adds, "The one thing that bothers me right off the bat is the $350 fee." By contrast, assistant public defender Josh Spickler says people will find the money to make it happen: "If you've qualified for this, $350 is easy. You find the $350 to get this off your record."