Felony expungement bill could mean second chance for some

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

CORBIN, Ky (WYMT) - A bill making its way through Kentucky's General Assembly could mean a second chance for some people convicted of low level felonies.

House Bill 47 would allow people who only have one Class D felony on their record to apply to have it expunged.

When Robin Zelenka was arrested in 2009, she never imaged her felony charge would hang over her like a dark cloud.

She says she always had good paying jobs as a teenager and was working towards a nursing degree.

But after she was convicted on a possession of a controlled substance charge, a Class D felony, she now works at a fast food restaurant and can no longer pursue a nursing career.

She says she completed drug court and has been clean ever since.

"It's just really discouraging that I made one bad decision after making a million good ones in my life, and now I feel hopeless and stuck like no matter how hard I try that I am never going to be able to achieve what I want to achieve," said Zelenka.

But a bill moving through the General Assembly could possibly change Zelenka's future.

House Bill 47 would allow people with one Class D felony on their record to apply to have it expunged.

"If we've served our punishment, and we have proven that we want to change our lives and we are doing everything we can to change our lives then give us the chance to do that," said Zelenka.

Some local law enforcement officials say the process needs to be looked at closely.

"I think it needs to be on a case by case bases. If it's a first time offender and it is minor violation, there is nothing wrong with giving people a second chance," said Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

Convicted felons would not be able to apply if they are sex offenders or convicted of child or elder abuse.

The bill passed in the house and will now be voted on in the senate.


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