Aldermen to consider ordinance to expunge juvenile criminal records


(Daily file photo by Colin Boyle)

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) attends a city meeting. Braithwaite chairs the city’s Alternatives to Arrest committee that recommended the council discuss an ordinance requiring the city to expunge law enforcement records for juveniles.

Syd Stone, City Editor

Aldermen will consider an ordinance that would amend city code to allow for automatic expungement of juvenile criminal records at Monday’s City Council meeting.

If passed, the ordinance will require the city to automatically expunge law enforcement records regarding events occurring before an individual’s 18th birthday if one year has passed since the date of arrest, no petition for delinquency or criminal charges were filed and six months have passed without an additional arrest.

The Illinois Juvenile Court Act was amended in August 2017 to prohibit law enforcement agencies from disclosing records involving minors who commit ordinance violations. The amendment also prohibits public and private employers from asking about expunged records, and imposes liability on employers who do not put disclaimers in their application materials.

According to city documents, Evanston complies with the act and has administrative procedures in place to execute its requirements. A second, companion city ordinance would codify and incorporate requirements from the state law into Evanston Municipal Code.

The discussion of the ordinance comes after a request from the city’s Alternatives to Arrest committee to consider an ordinance that clears “juvenile administrative hearing records stemming from administrative adjudication in addition to law enforcement records,” according to city documents.

The Alternatives to Arrest committee, chaired by Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd), was formed in April 2017 to “reduce the number of young adults that have a difficult time finding a job later in life” by finding alternatives to arrest for misdemeanors, according to city documents.

According to city documents, the committee created a subcommittee to review current record keeping policies and procedures.

Aldermen will also discuss a resolution to terminate Smylie Brothers Brewing Co.’s lease of a city-owned property. The city approved a 10-year lease in December 2016 for the brewing company to open a second location in south Evanston in the city’s former recycling center near James Park at 2222 Oakton St.

According to city documents, Smylie Brothers owner Mike Smylie said he “was unable to raise sufficient funding to complete the project as planned.”

The city is looking to identify another “productive” use for the property, and staff is seeking direction from City Council. Possible options include denying the request to terminate the lease and leaving Smylie responsible for the terms of the lease, listing the property for sale or demolishing it, among others.

Three parties have already expressed an interest in acquiring the property, including Peckish Pig, a restaurant and brewery in Evanston’s 8th Ward.

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Twitter: @sydstone16