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Enlarge this image Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced she has asked a judge to wipe out and seal cannabis-related convictions dating back to 1956. It’s the culmination of a partnership with the nonprofit group Code for America which used computer-based algorithms to identify eligible cases. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Los Angeles County courts may soon throw out nearly 66,000 marijuana-related convictions of residents dating back more than 50 years. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked a judge to dismiss and seal the records of 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases as early as 1961, as well as, 3,700 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases. Lacey, who is caught in a tight race for the district attorney seat against two progressive candidates, called it a marker of the sweeping change that can occur when government partners with technology leaders. “We believe it is the largest effort in California to wipe out old criminal convictions in a single court motion,” she said in a news conference on Thursday. The move comes about a year and a half after Lacey agreed to partner with Code for America in a pilot program that uses an algorithm to identify convictions that qualify for resentencing or dismissal under the state’s Proposition 64. The voter-approved measure legalized recreational marijuana and mandated resentencing for those with felony conviction for the cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana and sales and/or transport of marijuana. It also included dismissing misdemeanor possession charges. As a result, prosecutors throughout the state have been under pressure to meet a July 1, 2020, deadline to expunge or reduce all eligible convictions. “I also took the will of the voters one step further,” Lacey explained. “I expanded the criteria to go above and beyond the parameters of the law to ensure that many more people will benefit from this historic moment in time.” Those who were eligible under the pilot program, included persons 50 years of age or older, anyone who was convicted under the age of 21, anyone who has not been convicted of a crime in the past 10 years, anyone with a conviction who successfully completed probation and for cannabis convictions. National As Marijuana Goes On Sale In Illinois, Some Weed Convictions Pardoned As Marijuana Goes On Sale In Illinois, Some Weed Convictions Pardoned Listen · 3:29 3:29 Toggle more options Download Embed Embed iframe src=”https://www.npr.org/player/embed/793257379/793257380″ width=”100%” height=”290″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” title=”NPR embedded audio player” Transcript Sealing convictions, Lacey said, will bring relief for many facing obstacles in “building the life they deserve.” “We’re making a motion to seal it because we realize that’s the issue,” Lacey said. “When
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