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Governor vetoes Perry bill providing for expunction of certain juvenile records

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Yesterday Governor DeSantis vetoed SB 274 and a companion bill, CS/SB 166, both of which were introduced by Senator Keith Perry.

SB 274 requires the Department of Law Enforcement to expunge the nonjudicial arrest record of certain minors who have successfully completed a diversion program for any offense. Current law only provides for expunction if the arrest was for a misdemeanor.

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Current law also provides that a minor who successfully completes a diversion program for a first-time misdemeanor offense may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge his or her participation in the program unless the inquiry is made by a criminal justice agency. SB 274 would have removed the stipulation that this only applies to juveniles who are arrested for a first-time misdemeanor offense.

In his transmittal letter, the governor wrote that “SB 274 proposes to allow the expunction of a juvenile’s non-judicial arrest record following the completion of a diversion program for any offense, including a felony. I have concerns that the unfettered ability to expunge serious felonies, including sexual battery, from a juvenile’s record may have negative impacts on public safety.” The governor also wrote that he vetoed CS/SB 166 because it was linked to SB 274.

Perry has not responded to our request for a comment.

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