Senate finance considers sealing certain criminal records

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee has advanced legislation that would make confidential criminal court records in which prosecutors dropped charges or the defendant was acquitted.

SB108, from Sen. Fred Dyson, also would make confidential 120 days after dismissal or acquittal criminal court records in which a defendant was acquitted on some charges and others were dropped.

Dyson says the bill strengthens the idea of presumption of innocence.

The director of the Alaska Office of Victims’ Rights had raised concerns, saying in written testimony that there are many reasons prosecutors dismiss cases and there’s a difference between “innocent” and “not guilty.”

The bill would allow access to a limited group of individuals, including state health department employees responsible for the safety or placement of children or persons with disabilities or mental illness.

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