Automatic Expungement Done – Macomb County Reopens Website

August 29, 2023

The Macomb County Circuit Court website will resume access to criminal case records for the public. The court temporarily removed access due to the removal of certain convictions as part of the expungement process

The website for the Macomb Court has many regular users, such as those working in the Macomb County justice system. Additionally, most companies perform criminal background checks on job applicants and some employees. Furthermore, criminal defense lawyers frequently use the system to keep track of their clients’ cases, and court-appointed attorneys use it to submit bills for their services.

The Effects of Strain

The unavailability of these records for public research strained the court workers. Court clerks carried out the expungement process, which took approximately three months. The people could not research current or past criminal cases during this time due to the new expungement law. It also caused many to work overtime due to the high volume of name-check requests that people typically would have used the website to research. 

According to the court, they received 26,000 name checks while manually removing 12,000 records from the website. However, several of the state’s other courts maintained public access during this expungement process. County circuits such as Oakland Wayne reported this success without interrupting the removal of eligible cases.

Recently, Court Administrator Julie Bovenschen confirmed that the court has successfully removed the cases eligible for expungement from the website. As a result, the general public can once again access information on criminal cases.

The Criteria

This law, which mandated automatic expungements, acted as an expansion of previous expungement legislation. According to the addition, it automatically expunged crimes meeting any of the following criteria:

  • Misdemeanors punishable by less than 92 days in jail (no limits on the number of misdemeanors and no time requirement)
  • Up to four misdemeanors punishable by jail time of 93 or more days if seven years have passed since the sentencing date and the individual has no pending criminal charges.
  • Up to two felonies with a maximum penalty of less than ten years in prison; however, ten years must have passed since the sentencing date or the completion of the sentence, whichever happens later. The individual must not have pending charges.

Some offenses are ineligible for automatic expungement. Examples include assaultive crimes like homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, and manslaughter. The law also disqualifies serious misdemeanors and offenses of dishonesty.

This law improves Macomb County residents’ ability to obtain job and housing opportunities. However, it also affects employers and their hiring policies. To ensure compliance, employers should work with a trustworthy background screening provider. The right partner will use their experience with fair chance hiring to provide accurate and timely reports for well-informed hiring decisions.

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