The Alabama Redeemer Act shows promise for some convicted of crimes, traps in some cases
MOBILE, Alabama (WKRG) – Beginning in July 2021, people with certain criminal records in Alabama can request to have the slate wiped.
The Alabama Redeemer Act could make it easier for people who have paid their debt to society to leave their past.
Some members of the justice system fear that the Redeemer Act leaves some criminals through the cracks. The new law has promises and pitfalls.
Take Billee Burrell for example. She has something from her past that she can’t really shake off. Over 20 years ago, she says she was convicted of a misdemeanor charge. While she has paid off her debts, she says it has kept her out of several jobs since.
“It hurts, you see friends that you’re just as capable of getting these jobs with,” Burrell said. “I don’t think it’s fair because it happened so long ago.” She could be someone the new law was designed to help. Burrell said she was eager to learn more about how she could request that her record be cleared through The Redeemer Act.
It covers certain offenses. Lawyers say it’s a second chance for people who are continually being punished for something that happened a long time ago. District attorneys statewide have the ability to challenge it if someone tries to erase their records under this law.
“I think it can help in some cases, which is why prosecutors can make a recommendation to a judge and ultimately it’s up to a judge to make that decision,” the Mobile County District Attorney said, Ashley Rich. Rich has some reservations about the new law, noting that the 3rd degree domestic violence records could be suppressed because it is a misdemeanor in Alabama.
“It’s important that we have domestic violence convictions on the books, if they commit another domestic violence offense, that conviction can be used against them,” Rich said. She argued that every case for delisting was worth investigating.
“I can’t cover ‘that would be a good thing’ cover, I think we owe it to this person to look at the case, the facts and the circumstances surrounding this case to see where they are now and then take a look. decision, ”Rich said. The process can be cumbersome and costly. Applicants are required by law to pay a fee of $ 500 and they would likely need a lawyer to do it properly.