Healthy New Jersey

Office of the Public Defender

Public Defender Sellitti, Attorney General Platkin and New Jersey State Police Announce Interim Consent Order to Further Streamline Expungement Process


New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
– Jennifer N. Sellitti, Public Defender

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General

New Jersey State Police
– Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent


Cristina LiBassi, Director of Communications

Michael Symons, Deputy Director of Communications

TRENTON – May 9, 2024 – The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (NJOPD), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) today announced that as part of ongoing litigation, an Interim Consent Order has been entered in State Superior Court aimed at creating a more efficient solution to how the NJSP processes outstanding judicial expungement orders. As a result of continued collaborative efforts, the parties have identified and agreed upon various categories of expungement orders that will be promptly processed to further reduce the existing backlog of expungement orders and allow New Jerseyans to obtain gainful employment, find suitable housing and reintegrate into society. The lawsuit remains in mediation, and the parties continue to work together to identify additional improvements to the processing of expungement orders.

Under the Interim Consent Order, the NJSP agrees to promptly process judicial orders of expungement filed as Clean Slate or Recovery Court orders when they expunge a municipal ordinance violation; could have been filed as a regular expungement petition; could have been filed as two regular expungement petitions; or address multiple convictions, including some that could have been filed as regular expungement petitions. The NJSP also agrees to promptly process expungement orders with incomplete biographical information but which are sufficient to identity petitioners and their records, as well as to inform the appropriate county prosecutor’s office and either counsel for the petitioner or the Public Defender’s Office if that information is insufficient.

Additionally, the NJSP agrees to erase all expungable information related to an underlying arrest or criminal complaint in its records, even if some aren’t included in the judicial expungement order, and to expunge the records that it possesses even in cases where the judicial expungement order directed NJSP to expunge records beyond its custody or control, such as search engine results and restraining orders issued by the Family Part of the Superior Court, or that it is not authorized to expunge, such as DNA records.

Other categories of expungement orders that are not covered by the Interim Consent Order are subject to further discussion among the parties as part of ongoing mediation. The NJOPD, OAG and NJSP are committed to working together to reduce the backlog of unprocessed expungement orders and create procedures designed to ensure that expungement orders are timely processed on an ongoing basis.

“This Interim Consent Order underscores our commitment to protecting individuals’ right to privacy as well as supporting community members who are looking to create a better future for themselves and their families, yet there remains significant work ahead to ensure that all those who were granted an expungement by our Superior Courts have their records expunged,” said Public Defender Jennifer Sellitti. “We remain focused on obtaining prompt and effective relief for those whose expungement orders remain unprocessed in NJSP’s backlog and look forward to continuing our work with the OAG and NJSP to address these issues through pending litigation.”

“New Jersey is dedicated to supporting individuals who have made mistakes but want a fresh start,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “Progress has been made in reducing the number of unprocessed expungement orders that surged after significant criminal justice reforms were approved. Around 110,000 expungements have been processed since 2023, reducing the backlog by nearly 70 percent, and we are committed to doing more to process the new and remaining orders expeditiously. This Interim Consent Order is another step ahead in those efforts.”

"Clearing one's record through expungement is not about erasing the past; it's about empowering individuals to move forward with dignity and opportunity,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “People should not be defined by their past decisions when they are striving to improve themselves and their communities.”

In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy enacted legislation crafted as part of his Second Chance Agenda that created a petition process for those convicted of some low-level offenses to have their criminal records expunged or erased, providing them with a “clean slate.” This process is available to individuals who have not committed an offense in the past 10 years and have not been convicted of serious crimes. The law also mandates the sealing of low-level marijuana cases upon their disposition.

To implement that reform, the NJSP established an Expungement Unit that has been working to keep pace with the growing number of expungement orders awaiting processing. The Interim Consent Order builds on that progress by identifying categories of expungement orders that would be amenable to expedited processing.

The Interim Consent Order is a result of an ongoing class action lawsuit as well as mediation before the Honorable Jaynee LaVecchia, Retired Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. It was entered on April 30 by Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Hurd, the presiding judge in the Civil Division in the Mercer vicinage. Implementation has been ordered by May 10, and has commenced.


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