The House Law and Justice Committee today approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Peter J. Lucido which would erase all arrest and personal identification information for any individual found to be falsely accused or when charges are dismissed before trial.
“One of the core tenets of our legal system is we’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “That’s increasingly difficult in today’s society, but that’s absolutely not an excuse to keep specific personal information of someone who never faces a day of trial.”
Lucido’s bills require that if an individual is arrested, the witness recants their statement or affidavit before trial and the charges are dismissed, then information such as fingerprints, DNA, other descriptive data and statements are to be expunged. The legislation also requires removal from the Law Enforcement Information Network, used by law enforcement agencies across Michigan.
The legislation was inspired by a specific criminal case when Lucido, a licensed attorney, represented a Macomb County individual who faced charges before the witness recanted their statement and the charges dropped prior to trial. Lucido saw firsthand the lifelong effects of the case on his client.
“This person did nothing wrong, yet his life was essentially destroyed every time he applied for a job or someone Googled his name,” said Lucido, who is the vice-chair of the Law and Justice Committee. “It’s was an absolute travesty of justice, one of the worst I witnessed in 30 years serving in the legal profession.”
House Bills 4536, 4537 and 4538 advance to the full House for its consideration.