Commonwealth v. K.W.
Commonwealth v. K.W. (Supreme Judicial Court, Commonwealth of MA, Sept. 8, 2022): The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts overturned a municipal court’s refusal to expunge the petitioner’s 2003 and 2006 arrests for marijuana possession, conduct that was criminalized then but is now legal under state law. The lower court denied the petition to expunge on the grounds that destruction of the records would not be “in the best interests of justice,” even though the Commonwealth did not oppose the petition. Finding that the lower court abused its discretion, the appellate court explained that petitions for expungement regarding actions no longer considered criminal are entitled to a strong presumption favoring expungement. Clarifying the expungement law for future petitions, the court stated that expungement petitions should only be denied if a “significant countervailing concern is raised in opposition.” Read the full decision here.