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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 19, 2009, 2 p.m.

Hart: We’re keeping track of too many people

Athol Rep. Phil Hart wants Idaho to allow all evidence of a past arrest or trial that didn't result in a conviction to be erased, including trial records and national law enforcement databases of arrests. He brought legislation today to allow a judge to expunge such records on request. "In the United States we have the highest population of people on parole or probation in the world," Hart told the House Judiciary Committee. "I think we've got to look for ways to ratchet back the number of people we're keeping track of and we've got records of."

Committee members had lots of questions about the proposal, including how Idaho judges could expunge records they have no jurisdiction over, like national law enforcement databases. "I'll have to admit I was not aware of that, so I'll have to do some more work on that," Hart responded. Hart proposed similar legislation in 2005; it passed the House but was killed in a Senate committee. Asked what law enforcement thought of the idea then, he said, "As I remember, law enforcement did not like this bill, and I'll just leave it at that." The committee agreed to introduce his bill, but the voice vote was divided, with at least three members opposing introduction.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.