After Some Juvenile Arrests, A Fresh Start
By Brian Mackey
A new law will automatically clear certain arrest records for juveniles when they turn 18. It’s meant to keep arrests that did not result in criminal charges from following kids into adulthood.
The law applies only to arrests for lesser crimes — mostly non-violent. Sex offenses and top felonies will stay on the books, as will any arrest that resulted in formal criminal charges.
The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Democrat from Chicago. He said just because a youth is arrested doesn’t mean he should be marked for life.
“Oftentimes, in the projects, what the Chicago Police Department did were sweeps — where they just arrested anybody in the vicinity, whether or not they did anything wrong," Raoul said.
Critics point out juveniles can already go to court to have arrest records expunged. They don’t like that it will now be automatic, and leave judges out of the process.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure over the weekend, but it doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1.