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Members of the 13th Judiciary Circuit Court discuss expungement policies for Amendment 3

FULTON, Mo. (KMIZ)

Members of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court continued its ongoing discussions regarding the expungement policy following Missouri's adoption of Amendment 3.

Convictions for possession and paraphernalia will begin to be expunged Thursday under the voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized recreational marijuana in Missouri.

Under Amendment 3, misdemeanor marijuana offenses will be automatically expunged. However, Associate Circuit Judge for Division 11 Stephani Morrell said this process has proven to be difficult.

"With the expungement, the Circuit Clerk has to look at the fact that Amendment 3 says it's automatic in some cases," Morell said. "And obviously, automatic can't be automatic when you have to go through thousands and thousands and thousands of cases."

Discussions were also held to review how this process may impact those still in the pretrial phase.

Morrell said they have to discuss, "what impact that (Amendment 3) will have on our individuals that are in pretrial release, they've been released on bond, or they are being supervised by adult court services."

Morrell said the courts have to "make sure we comply with Amendment 3."

"Do we need to change the language in regards to controlled substances looking at federal law and now state law?" Morrell said. "Also talking about what position probation and parole are taking with the differences between federal and state law."

Morrell said meetings will continue to be held as they work on expungements.

"Next on this, is to continue to have meetings with our pretrial release individuals working on what our conditions are for both bond supervision and probation, and then really, the circuit clerk working to get those cases that need to be expunged to us, the judges so that we can make the appropriate orders."

According to Ammedment 3, misdemeanor marijuana offenses will automatically be expunged. The courts have six months to wipe the records clean.

Felony possession of up to 3 pounds will automatically be expunged, as well. However, Amendment 3 gives the courts a bit more time for felonies -- they must be done within 12 months.

Anyone who has been convicted of possession of more than 3 pounds must petition the courts.

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.

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