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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
This legislation would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to authorize a court in which a defendant has been convicted of a prostitution offense, to hear a petition from the defendant to set aside the order of conviction. The petition would require specific fact patterns that would need to be proven, in order to establish that the petitioner was engaged in prostitution solely as a victim of human trafficking, or compelled to. Once the attorney representing the state is served with the petition, a case would be required to be filed no later than the 20th business day after the date of service. Of the conviction is set aside, this bill would allow the records and files relating to the arrest expunged in the same way for other persons entitled to expunction with similar circumstances.
Those who fall victim to forced prostitution prostitution because of human trafficking deserve the opportunity to have a fresh start. This legislation ensures that not every person convicted of prostitution would have this opportunity, rather only those who are forced into it through human trafficking. A court would have to make a determination that this claim is actually true.
This legislation would prevent a victim of a horrible crime by being further victimized through the adversary connotations of a criminal record accrued only as a result of force.
We support this legislation on the principle of individual liberty.