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Los Angeles County prosecutors, along with the not-for-profit technology company, to eliminate or to reduce to 66,000 marijuana convictions, which disproportionately affected minorities over the course of several decades.
The effort comes a few years after California voters legalized the drug. The county has been working with Code for America, which is to use a program that can be found under the decades-old court documents that are eligible for the program.
“The removal of tens of thousands of old drug-related convictions, in the County of Los Angeles-brings you the much-needed help to communities of color, who have disproportionately suffered from the unjust consequences of our nation’s drug laws,” Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.
SOME OF THE HEFTIEST OF THE COAST GUARD DRUG BUSTS
The Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey speaks during a debate in Salt Lake City. The Los Angeles-area public prosecutors in district attorneys to use technology in order to eliminate or reduce to a minimum, as many as 66,000 old marijuana convictions, a year after California voters broadly legalized the drug. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
On Thursday, a judge granted a request by prosecutors to dismiss the 62,000 felony marijuana conviction, which dates back to 1961. Lacey’s office also asked the court to delete as much as 4,000 for the misdemeanor marijuana possession case.
Of the 53,000 people in the County of Los Angeles, who have obtained relief under the scheme, approximately 45 percent of Latino, 32 percent African-American, 20 percent white, and 3% other or unknown.
Studies have shown, communities of color have borne the brunt of marijuana enforcement, even though white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates. Black men are in prison at higher rates in California for marijuana-related crimes, even though they are only about 6% of the population.
In an effort to expand the program, Code for America, offers its services to all 58 district attorneys in the state.
“This is a clear proof that the record is auto-approved, it is possible to scale and can help to right the wrongs of the failed” war on drugs, and Evonne Silva, and Code for America, senior program director of criminal justice, said in a statement.
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The program will identify eligible cases and to fill out the forms to file with the court. The ability to analyze a conviction to be eligible for a to about 10,000 a / minute, as opposed to the amount of time it would take employees to to dig up in the records.
The last step, the Code for America have helped to the dismissal of more than 85,000 marijuana convictions in five counties, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa officials have said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.