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The Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, the seat of New Jersey's Supreme Court.

State Supreme Court rules pardoned offenses can be expunged

By Nikita Biryukov, January 15 2021 11:33 am

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled a man pardoned by Gov. Chris Christie could have offenses expunged from his record Monday.

Tommy Odom was convicted of aggravated assault in 1994 and of possession of a controlled dangerous substance within 1,000 of a school in 1997.

Christie pardoned him in 2018, and Odom sought to have the convictions expunged from his record but was stopped because state statute did not allow for expungement for individuals with prior convictions, despite the prosecutor in the case acknowledging Odom was “deserving of an expungement.”

The court ruled Odom was eligible for expungement because Odom’s pardon removed legal disabilities imposed by his convictions.

The justices said the decision alone would not have guaranteed him an expungement, only that it would make him eligible to seek one, but it was granted to him because the state opposed Odom’s petition only because they did not believe he met the statutory bar to have his records scrubbed.

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