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Astounding! My Senator – Ryan McDougle has Come Out for Some Expungement of Youthful Drug/Alcohol Convictions! (Emails corrected!)

I could not have been more astounded if I read Tom White had joined the Communist Party!

 McDougle: Expunge first-time pot, alcohol possession convictions for under-21 offenders

My senator?  Ryan McDougle?  Well it’s true.  And I agree with him!  It is the kind of visionary thinking that will help the GOP win elections in the future without having to get three or four to run for sheriff in every county of the Commonwealth.

Here’s the story at Richmond.com and here’s the story in the Virginian-Pilot:

McDougle, a criminal lawyer and co-chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, said in an interview that the legislation is prompted by the desire to not have “bad choices” made in early adulthood prevent offenders from getting jobs and opportunities later that help them become “a productive and economic contributor to society.”

He said the legislation would not alter the punishment for the crime, which can include driver’s license suspension, a fine and possible jail time, but it would provide a pathway for one-time offenders to have a clean slate after their probationary period.

A better solution would be to lower the drinking age for beer and maybe unfortified wine to 18.  But this is a start.  (I understand from a VERY reliable source that in Charlottesville, first offenders of the underage drinking age rule if they are over 18 can get a deferral upon terms so it does not show up on their record.)

Here is another account in the Daily Press (Williamsburg):

State Sen. Ryan McDougle, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, said the bill will be one of a few criminal justice reform measures likely to move in the coming legislative session, which begins next month. He said people under 21 should be given a shot at expungement to improve their employment options.

The legislation would deal with simple possession cases, not selling marijuana. McDougle, a former prosecutor, said there’s no method for expungement now.

Let all my readers do two things:  Let’s thank Senator McDougle for this wonderful idea – send him an email at district04 [at] state.virginia.gov.

And lets’ ask Delegate Chris Peace and Buddy Fowler to join him.

We need to stop the tendency toward overcriminalization and criminal records.  Let me also add:  I would suggest a law similar to Alabama’s Youthful Offender law that allows a young offender to avoid a felony record by adhering to certain conditions.

Peace:  DelCPeace [at] house.virginia.gov

Fowler:  DelBFowler [at] house.virginia.gov

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood “Sandy” Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia’s first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “Astounding! My Senator – Ryan McDougle has Come Out for Some Expungement of Youthful Drug/Alcohol Convictions! (Emails corrected!)”

  1. Andrew Garcia says:

    I was also pleasantly surprised to hear this news. I also saw that Republican Delegate Jeff Campbell from Southwest Virginia introduced an expungement bill, HB 74, this morning. It’s great to see more conservatives getting involved in criminal justice reform efforts. I think this is definitely a winning issue for any politician that has the good sense to take advantage of it.

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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