Expungement in Indiana: A Radical Experiment and How it is Working so Far
Joshua Gaines and Margaret Colgate Love, Federal Sentencing Reporter
This paper describes the results of an investigation into the operation of Indiana’s recently enacted expungement law from a variety of perspectives: a prosecutor from a populous urban county (Marion County, including Indianapolis), criminal defense attorneys, court personnel, and legal service providers across the state. Indiana’s expungement law, first enacted in 2013 and amended several times since, extends to all but the most serious offenses, although the legal effect of relief as well as the process for obtaining it differs considerably depending on the offense involved. Expungement carries with it a variety of benefits for employment and licensing, but it results in limiting public access to the record only for non-conviction records and less serious offenses.
The paper includes as appendices a detailed description of the expungement law, an interview with the chief sponsor of the bill describing the process of its original enactment, and an opinion of the Indiana Court of Appeals interpreting the law’s standard for granting relief. Finally, the materials on Indiana restoration law include a description of a new law regulating consideration of conviction in occupational licensing.