Santa Clara County to Clear Thousands of Pot Convictions

Instead of going through the tedious process of filing a petition, thousands of people in Santa Clara County will get their marijuana convictions expunged automatically.

The move—announced today by the Santa Clara County Superior Court, which has dramatically scaled back services amid the pandemic—eliminates the need for people with Prop. 65-eligible convictions to wait for a hearing date.

Come Wednesday, Supervising Criminal Judge Eric S. Geffon will reduce or clear a combined 11,500 cannabis convictions for 9,000 people in Santa Clara County.

Presiding Judge Deborah A. Ryan said the court is “pleased” to order the clearances.

“We hope this process will provide a sense of closure to those individuals,” she said in a news release. “Having a clear record also will assist those seeking employment, an issue that is especially important as businesses begin the process of reopening. We thank our justice partners for their cooperation and collaboration in this important project.”

The expungements stem from collaborative efforts of the local District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, the county and the courts.

Those with questions about a specific case should contact their original attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, or the District Attorney’s Office.

9 Comments

  1. Santa Clara County continues to lead, now with working steadfastly to eliminate the scourge of cannabis prohibition. I do still wonder how those were were charged, and served any time at at, either in jail awaiting trial, or in state prison after a conviction, can reclaim the time they lost.

    Yet another war lost: the lost cause popularly called the War on Drugs. May Nancy Reagan spin in her grave.

    • “I do still wonder how those were were charged, and served any time at [all], either in jail awaiting trial, or in state prison after a conviction, can reclaim the time they lost.”

      Since 1977, possession of marijuana in Ca has not been eligible for any jail time, much less prison time. Yes, not a single day in jail for marijuana possession. Sales was a felony, but virtually no one has been going to prison for selling marijuana for the last 20-30 years unless it was hundreds of plants or associated with other criminal activity or both. Since Prop 64, marijuana prosecutions are nearly non-existent and are generally reserved for those who blatantly violate the rules established for the state marijuana market. Even then, a prison sentence is not the norm. While I’m sure you would conclude that a single one going to prison is an outrage and unjustified, Many of the ones who went to prison were simply crooks to begin with and sold marijuana because the job paid well and generated tax free income. Once marijuana becomes fully legal, both state and federal, a lot of those same people will move on to different contraband.

  2. “Since 1977, possession of marijuana in Ca has not been eligible for any jail time. Totally fake news.

    • That I believe to be true but regardless it’s not like a bad, hypocritical, and unjust prohibition was a “no harm, no foul” sort of a thing for people who got arrested now that these records are finally being tossed away. It could be traumatic and have real life impacts. It probably isn’t possible to track most people down after all this time and make reparations, but damn these laws sure embittered many people towards their own government and law enforcement for no good reason. Just insane.

      • xbr: You hit the nail on the head. Each case will be different, and the decades-long prohibition of cannabis had wide-reaching implications that cannot be satisfied with some simple “fake news” comments. What I’m trying to highlight is the fact that the war on drugs has been a huge failure. It really turned into a war on black and brown people, especially those that are poor.

        If a cop didn’t have the justification of “I thought I smelled pot”, it would be much harder to claim “probable cause” and search that lowrider and harass its occupants.

    • JMO,

      Do you care to identify the California Code sections that prove me wrong? Or do you think attempting to lump me in with Trump is a sufficient rebuttal. I was referring to former Health & Safety Code section 11357(b). No jail time was authorized for simple possession for decades before it was repealed.

      • David,

        I didn’t get the impression that JMO was disagreeing with you.

        My point is that simply getting arrested (or citied) for using has always been an outrage (BTW I’m very intolerant of usage while driving). Even if one didn’t have to go to jail there could still be heavy repercussions.

        SCC, actually not all white people were given a “free-pass” by law enforcement on MJ laws, The way they could handle people was pretty arbitrary –which obviously is a huge problem with the law to begin with.