Kim Foxx, the Illinois State’s Attorney for Cook County, announced that her office is set to expunge thousands of misdemeanor cannabis convictions in the coming months.
Foxx and her office are in talks with Code for America to identify minor marijuana cases in the county, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The non-profit has already assisted with pot-related expungements in California.
The legal eagle noted in an interview with the Sun-Times that Code for America “can help us find some infrastructure support of being able to look at the [Cook County] clerk’s office, Dorothy Brown’s office, to be able to identify batches of people who are found or convicted of the statutory code for possession of marijuana”
Foxx first publicly voiced her support for the legalization of weed during a speech in January to the City Club of Chicago. At the time, she made clear that her office would “pursue the expungement of all misdemeanor marijuana convictions.”
The biggest challenge now is putting the arduous process in motion.
“The question is, how far back can we go? How far back does the data go — which will give us what our universe looks like? But we’re in the process of figuring that out,” said Foxx.
She intends to work with state officials to determine whether her office can file individual petitions for expungement on behalf of folks with convictions, the report states. Her office is also examining how it handles cases involving the sale of marijuana.
“The next iteration of this is looking at those sales,” she said. As it becomes more apparent that legalization is on the horizon, Foxx tells the Sun-Times: “We don’t want to be on the back end of trying to figure out what to do.”
While she has the support of many colleagues on her approach to crimes involving marijuana, she has received some push back.
Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, said the union doesn’t support her plan to expunge misdemeanor cannabis convictions.
“Even if the law changes, that does not change the fact that these people knew they were breaking the law, were arrested and convicted once again disregarding the hard work of police officers,” he said.