The Root reports that Seattle is throwing out 15 years of marijuana convictions that happened prior to the state of Washington making marijuana legal. Judges in Seattle cited the “disproportionate impact” that the war on drugs has on minorities as a reason for the vacations of the convictions of hundreds of people.
The Seattle Times says that city attorney Pete Holmes originally filed the motion asking the city’s seven judges to vacate sentences of anyone convicted for misdemeanor possession between 1996 and 2010, provided they are not considered a criminal otherwise. Holmes reportedly stopped prosecuting minor crimes involving marijuana when he took office.
The state of Washington legalized marijuana in 2012. It is estimated that 542 people will be impacted by the judges’ decision.
It is estimated that defendants affected by this motion are 3% Asian, 46% black, 46% white, 3% Native American and 2% unknown. The Court stated that individual defendants were not specifically impacted due to their race, however.
Defendants affected by the ruling will receive a letter and their convictions will be removed from their permanent records.
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