Frankie Guzman is a lawyer for the National Center for Youth Law who’s helped make major changes to the state’s criminal justice system and holds degrees from both UC Berkeley and UCLA.
But if you were to run a simple online background check on him, one of the first things you would see is a felony conviction for a robbery he committed decades ago, at the age of 15. For Guzman, this means he’s been denied housing and is ineligible for many government jobs despite being crime-free for years.
“People will treat you differently, people will assume things about you,” Guzman said. “You could be a husband with a good job and be crime-free and still be stigmatized for that record.”
But a new Senate bill that Guzman co-authored and advocated for could change that. SB 312, which passed through the California Legislature Tuesday, is set to pave the way for people to seal court records for crimes they were convicted of before they turned 17.
Proposed by State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, the bill is intended to help eliminate hurdles to housing,
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