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posted by cmn32480 on Sunday October 04 2015, @11:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the lighten-up-man dept.

AlterNet reports

This week it was announced that Oregon will be expunging the old records of marijuana offenders, along with their new legalization plan. This measure is the farthest that a state has gone to date in regards to applying the new laws to old cases. However, for people who remain in jail for having a plant, the legalization plan does not go far enough.

According to the New York Times (paywall), people who have low-level felony or misdemeanor marijuana charges on their record that are at least ten years old will be eligible for expungement.

While the transition in Oregon is nowhere near what is needed for the hundreds of thousands who are still incarcerated, the aspect that allows for old cases to be expunged is at least a step in the right direction, and is helping people clear their records so they can avoid discrimination.

"Oregon is one of the first states to really grapple with the issue of what do you do with a record of something that used to be a crime and no longer is", law professor Jenny M. Roberts told the New York Times.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Colleges Consider "Trigger Warnings" in Curriculum 55 comments

Raw Story summarizes a New York Times report that Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as "trigger warnings," explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.

The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate. Trigger warnings, they say, suggest a certain fragility of mind that higher learning is meant to challenge, not embrace. "Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom," said Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor, who often uses graphic depictions of torture in her courses about war. "Any student can request some sort of individual accommodation, but to say we need some kind of one-size-fits-all approach is totally wrong. The presumption there is that students should not be forced to deal with something that makes them uncomfortable is absurd or even dangerous."

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said, "It is only going to get harder to teach people that there is a real important and serious value to being offended. Part of that is talking about deadly serious and uncomfortable subjects."

A summary of the College Literature, along with the appropriate trigger warnings, assumed or suggested in the article is as follows: Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (anti-Semitism), Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" (suicide), "The Great Gatsby" (misogynistic violence), and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (racism).

Note: The Raw Story link was provided to provide an alternative to the article source, the New York Times, due to user complaints about the NYT website paywalling their articles.

NYT paywall by Anonymous Coward
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:02AM (#245396)

    I wish I could get stoned today. I've been working so hard and long these last weeks.
    It would be nice if CA just legalized it already

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:16AM (#245406)

      Even if Ca legalized it, you still have the feds to deal with. Then there's the drug testing from employers and doctors. Are they going to let it slide if you test positive for weed? I get what you're saying though, I've been wanting to light up a doobie for years.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:26AM (#245411)

        The feds don't seem to be a problem in Washington or Colorado. They've taken a hands off approach under Obama's orders, because if they realize this is a states rights situation, and if they lose even ONE such suit they lose authority to regulate marijuana everywhere.

        Tenth Amendment:
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:30AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:30AM (#245415)

          The US constitution doesn't actually give the federal government the power to regulate drugs in the first place. Drugs aren't always commerce and interstate, so the commerce clause is irrelevant, despite what the courts have ruled.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:43AM (#245422)

          The feds raided a legal weed store in San Diego a couple years ago, they had all legal paperwork to operate in the city and state.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @01:45AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @01:45AM (#245435)

            But California didn't legalize recreational use. The "legal" weed store was skating by on flimsy state medical marijuana regulation that the feds have never recognized.
            Colorado and Washington got around that medical use (since pot isn't officially approved for any medical use) and just legalized recreational use. Argument over.
            The sooner California ex-digitates and approves recreational use the better for every one.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:05AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:05AM (#245485)

              But California didn't legalize recreational use. The "legal" weed store was skating by on flimsy state medical marijuana regulation that the feds have never recognized.

              Maybe. But it was worse than that. The prosecutor managed to disbar any testimony as to the legality of the store under California law, and after the fact the jurors admitted that if they had know that it was a legal medical marijuana operation under California law, they would not have convicted under Federal law. So this is just how thin the ice is that the DEA is skating on. A single case that denies federal jurisdiction over drugs, and the entire "industry" of the drug wars goes down the tubes.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday October 05 2015, @01:39AM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday October 05 2015, @01:39AM (#245433) Journal

          If Chris Christie or some such asswipe gets elected, the cannabis detente is over.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Monday October 05 2015, @01:49AM

            by frojack (1554) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:49AM (#245438) Journal

            Doubt it.
            Its the same voters. And the numbers are growing, and the number of states are growing.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @01:58AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @01:58AM (#245439)

              He'd just close all the roads and bridges if he doesn't get his way.

        • (Score: 1) by ghost on Monday October 05 2015, @01:59PM

          by ghost (4467) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:59PM (#245620) Journal
          That's a nice thought but The Supreme Court [wikipedia.org] disagrees.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:29AM (#245414)

        I didn't give credence that employers on the west coast cared about weed any more. Amazing.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:41AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @12:41AM (#245421)

          Some might, and the doctors that do drug testing will drop you if there's anything in your system that isn't prescribed.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Francis on Monday October 05 2015, @03:11AM

          by Francis (5544) on Monday October 05 2015, @03:11AM (#245458)

          There's plenty of employers that care about that as well as tobacco use. Not to mention anybody requires a clean drug test for licensing reasons. Even legal medications can land you in hot water at times.

          When I was younger, I objected to the drug testing, but as I've grown older, I've gotten tired of picking up the slack for people that choose to use drugs. I'd much prefer to work in a drug-free workplace than to put up with the consequences of other people disrespecting their bodies like that.

          • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by aristarchus on Monday October 05 2015, @05:29AM

            by aristarchus (2645) on Monday October 05 2015, @05:29AM (#245491) Journal

            When I was younger, I objected to the drug testing, but as I've grown older, I've gotten -tired of picking up the slack for people that choose to use drugs- prescriptions for more of the drugs I use.

            Dude, FTFY! Toke on, Dude!

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Monday October 05 2015, @01:02PM

            by sjames (2882) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:02PM (#245592) Journal

            Personally, I still object to drug testing. I don't care what people do in their off hours. I *DO* object to people being high on the job.

          • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday October 05 2015, @06:12PM

            by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday October 05 2015, @06:12PM (#245746) Journal

            ...put up with the consequences of other people disrespecting their bodies like that.

            Yeah, that weed hangover will really screw up your work day.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday October 05 2015, @01:32AM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:32AM (#245430)
      Drug laws are at a weird place right now, with several states deciding that the war against drugs shouldn't include pot, and the feds unsure what to do.

      As someone has pointed out, if the feds decide to go to court over this and lose then it will be clear how the states can proceed.

      In my own country, there's not really even a debate about reforming the drug laws, even though something like 20% of adults are reported to smoke pot regularly.

      The Police are very firmly against legalisation though with something like $500 million in funding at stake.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Monday October 05 2015, @01:40AM

        by frojack (1554) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:40AM (#245434) Journal

        There are still plenty of police against legal pot use in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska.
        I've heard them insist it is still a gateway drug. Some are seriously still butt-hurt that the
        voter initiatives passed and they can't seem to let it go.

        Some work places still insist on a no pot use policy, even off the job, mostly because they have
        no valid tests to determine if your use was an hour ago or 20 hours ago.

        This is still likely to be in the courts for a long time.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday October 05 2015, @02:10AM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Monday October 05 2015, @02:10AM (#245446)

          I have no doubt that cops everywhere will be against the use of pot.

          I've heard a retired policeman state that pot should be kept illegal because it encourages people to break the law.

          Like the circular reasoning?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @02:18AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @02:18AM (#245449)

            I've heard a retired policeman state that pot should be kept illegal because it encourages people to break the law.

            Sounds like he has a portfolio full of private prison stocks.

            • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:44AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:44AM (#245494)

              I've heard a retired policeman state that pot should be kept illegal because it encourages people to break the law.

              Sounds like he has a portfolio full of private prison stocks.

              We can let the pigweed go now, for we have copyright law. If anything encourages people to break the law, it is copyright law. That, and overbearing cops who think they know the law, when they actually flunked out of high-school, but no one told them because they were not going to college and they would never find out. No, we have more than enough reasons to break the law, and more than enough surveillence to know that everyone has in fact broken the law--- the more laws there are, the more criminals there are.

    • (Score: 2) by cubancigar11 on Monday October 05 2015, @04:25AM

      by cubancigar11 (330) on Monday October 05 2015, @04:25AM (#245476) Homepage Journal

      I don't think it is any harder to get by some marijuana. All my friends who are abroad keep telling me how much shit they are smoking. I mean the good shit - "Da Shit" if you will.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Monday October 05 2015, @12:14AM

    by frojack (1554) on Monday October 05 2015, @12:14AM (#245404) Journal

    While the transition in Oregon is nowhere near what is needed for the hundreds of thousands who are still incarcerated,

    Oregon only has around 15,000 prisoners [oregon.gov] and only 940 of those are for drugs [oregon.gov].

    I suppose TFA did a subtle switch between State and National numbers, which seems like a dick argument since marijuana possession is still a crime in most states.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday October 05 2015, @01:10PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:10PM (#245594)

      I was impressed with the stat that out of 14K inmates only 8K have an addiction problem. Something tells me a "large fraction" of property crime related criminals.

      Also with over 1K black people in state prisons that is about 1 in 70 of the state black population.

      I would not trust the categorization based on plea bargaining. I suspect some fraction of the violent offenders are in for other reasons.

      For an example of why I'm mystified, take a look at the over 1000 in prison for sodomy... how does that even work in SJW-land / Portland? Plea bargained down from pedo, I'm guessing?

  • (Score: 2) by unzombied on Monday October 05 2015, @01:22AM

    by unzombied (4572) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:22AM (#245428)

    "Oregon is one of the first states to really grapple with the issue of what do you do with a record of something that used to be a crime and no longer is". Also a crime that never needed to be one. And hardly the first. In the US there is prohibition of liquor, consensual acts between adults for money, consensual acts between same genders. Plenty of state examples to compare, unless one ignores them.

    • (Score: 1) by Francis on Monday October 05 2015, @03:18AM

      by Francis (5544) on Monday October 05 2015, @03:18AM (#245461)

      No, but the law is the law. Deciding what to do about cases where the law is wrong and has been changed needs to be done carefully. With things like sodomy and mixed-race couples there was a pretty straightforward solution. All of those should have been expunged and the people pardoned.

      This isn't one of those cases though. Smoking pot is not a human rights issue the way that anti-miscegenation and anti-sodomy statutes were. You can question the motives of pot prohibition, but it's not even remotely the same as the kind of bigotry that caused the other two.

      Consideration should be made on a case by case basis about which ones should be released and which ones should serve out their time. These are people that are mostly in prison for felony charges, not some stupid college kids that got busted with a bong or a dime bag. Many of them are hardened criminals that shouldn't be released until they serve out their sentences.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by hemocyanin on Monday October 05 2015, @07:57AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Monday October 05 2015, @07:57AM (#245530) Journal

        Smoking pot is not a human rights issue the way that anti-miscegenation and anti-sodomy statutes were.

        Why not? What do you think the drug is about? http://newjimcrow.com/ [newjimcrow.com]

        Secondly, neither is smoking pot a crime against humanity, so why was the government making it illegal in the first place? If something should never have been illegal, don't you think that instead of telling the viciously convicted they have to suck it up, the government should be forced to (at the very least) apologize, if not make amends.

        • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday October 05 2015, @08:06PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday October 05 2015, @08:06PM (#245796) Journal

          That line right before the link, that should be "what do you think the drug WAR is about?"

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Monday October 05 2015, @01:10PM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday October 05 2015, @01:10PM (#245595) Journal

        Actually, the drug laws have a firm grounding in racism. Much of the propaganda around banning marijuana was based on promoting fear that "niggars" would get crazy on weed and rape white women.

        Opium laws were focused on working class Chinese.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @02:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @02:16PM (#245627)

        This is government telling me what I can do to myself, in my time, in my premises. I don't see much difference whether it's about sex or substances. Unless sex is somehow a holy sacred human right for reasons not linked to reproduction while any other kind of recreation isn't.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by VanessaE on Monday October 05 2015, @01:49AM

    by VanessaE (3396) <vanessa.e.dannenberg@gmail.com> on Monday October 05 2015, @01:49AM (#245437) Journal

    Oregon is one of the first states to really grapple with the issue of what do you do with a record of something that used to be a crime and no longer is.

    Gee, I wonder... oh I know! How about just letting the poor bastards out of jail, and maybe pay them some restitution (considering it should never have been a crime in the first place). Treat it like a false conviction.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @03:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @03:05AM (#245457)

      That would encourage every other state to never let go of bad legislation. Imagine the government having to pay for its mistakes.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:19AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @05:19AM (#245489)

        This is a good point. The American government (whoever is in charge) will never admit to mistakes for fear of losing their strong and brutal image.

        Otherwise the warcrimes committed by the U.S government are more than enough that if admitted would cause the victims to wipe them off the planet financially.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @03:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @03:48PM (#245673)

      Gee, I wonder... oh I know! How about just letting the poor bastards out of jail

      Sure, let's do that without reviewing the cases shall we? Who knows what other "para"-crimes were committed during the drug arrest? Theft, endangerment to a child, assault, etc.... Or should Oregon clog their courts by re-trying all those cases? Bad idea, IMHO.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @06:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @06:20PM (#245749)

        Right, you can't let them out because they might have been guilty of something else. No trials because that's too much trouble.
        Why don't you just put them up against the wall and call in the firing squads? Or would gassing them in ovens be more efficient?

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Monday October 05 2015, @06:09PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Monday October 05 2015, @06:09PM (#245745)

      maybe pay them some restitution

      Too expensive. How about giving them a dime bag or two? That way if they're not happy about it, they'll be too mellow to complain.

  • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Monday October 05 2015, @02:00AM

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Monday October 05 2015, @02:00AM (#245442)

    Will the ex-convicts still be fscked when prospective employers and dates look them up in databases that Oregon doesn't control?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by deimtee on Monday October 05 2015, @02:45AM

      by deimtee (3272) on Monday October 05 2015, @02:45AM (#245453) Journal

      Just how legally complete is an "expungement"?
      If a conviction is expunged but someone claims, in print, that you are an ex-convict, can you sue for libel?
      For a pardon, I would say no, because that is basically "yes you did it, but you are forgiven", but for an expungement I don't know.

      --
      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @08:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05 2015, @08:57PM (#245811)

        A very real distinction exists between an expungement and a pardon. When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most purposes, treat the event as if it never occurred. A pardon (also called "executive clemency") does not "erase" the event; rather, it constitutes forgiveness. In the United States, an expungement can be granted only by a judge; while a pardon can be granted only by the President of the United States for federal offenses, and the state governor, certain other state executive officers, or the State Board of Pardons and Paroles (varies from state to state) for state offenses.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expungement [wikipedia.org]

        So it sounds like yes, you might be able to sue for libel/slander if they call you a convict.