Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and KCCBA Prez Darran Winslow join in support of Clean Slate Act
Following the announcement of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signing of the Clean Slate Act, the Kings County Criminal Bar Association (KCCBA) and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez immediately expressed their strong support.
The KCCBA, a prominent legal organization in Brooklyn, is known for its dedication to improving the criminal justice system and comprises a diverse group of legal professionals, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and military service members.
Darran Winslow, president of the KCCBA, praised the Clean Slate Act, stating, “This law marks a significant stride for New York, creating a vital pathway for individuals who have met the necessary criteria but have been impeded by past criminal convictions.”
District Attorney Gonzalez, who stood alongside Gov. Hochul at the Brooklyn Museum for the ceremonial signing, expressed his gratitude to those who engaged with the Brooklyn DA’s Office on this legislation, highlighting the delicate balance the Act strikes between public safety and rehabilitation.
“While prosecutors, the police, and other law enforcement will have access to these records that we need to do our jobs effectively, this bill strikes the right balance between public safety and rehabilitation for those who choose a better path for themselves,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez, known for his commitment to justice and fairness, emphasized the Act’s role in allowing New Yorkers to rebuild their lives with dignity. The Clean Slate Act offers fair access to jobs, education and stable housing, essential elements for a dignified life post-conviction. This perspective is particularly personal to Gonzalez, who grew up in East New York and witnessed firsthand the limitations imposed by the collateral consequences of criminal convictions on employment and housing opportunities.
“I’ve seen friends and neighbors make mistakes and go to prison, including family members, but the collateral consequences of those convictions limited them,” Gonzalez said. “It limited where they could live, what jobs they could do, and that lack of opportunity is, in my opinion, why people commit more crimes. This law ends that brutal cycle and gives people who have been justice-involved a chance to fully contribute to their society and our communities.”
The Clean Slate Act is designed to automatically seal certain criminal records after a specified waiting period, contingent on maintaining a clean record and completion of probation or parole. This initiative applies to a variety of offenses, with specific exclusions for severe crimes.
The cct is set to have a transformative impact on the lives of many New Yorkers, enabling individuals who have served their sentences and reformed to reintegrate into society more effectively. By sealing past convictions, the law aims to reduce the stigma and barriers associated with criminal records, especially in areas such as employment and housing.
The KCCBA’s endorsement of the Clean Slate Act aligns with its mission to advocate for beneficial reforms in the Brooklyn criminal courts. The association is committed to providing education on criminal justice topics, promoting charitable causes, and fostering cooperation and effective administration of justice within the legal community.
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