On May 14, City Council unanimously passed two ordinances, Nos. 15-0-18 and 65-0-18, under which a juvenile’s arrest records and a juvenile’s administrative hearing records will be automatically expunged if certain requirements are met.

The ordinances were recommended by an eight member “Arrest Committee” that was appointed by Mayor Steven Hagerty in April 2017.  Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, served as Chair of the Committee, whose goal is “to find alternatives to arrest for misdemeanors and reduce the number of young adults that have a difficult time finding a job later in life.”

Shortly after the Arrest Committee was formed, Illinois Public Act 100-0285 was signed into law, and it became effective on Jan. 1, 2018. The Act requires law enforcement agencies to create procedures to review juvenile records on or before Jan. 1 of each year to determine if records must be automatically expunged.

Ordinance Nos. 15-0-18 and 65-0-18 are consistent with Public Act 100-0285. Both are intended to limit the harm caused by an arrest record, which can hinder a person’s ability to obtain employment, education, housing and credit.

Under Ordinance 15-O-18, the City will automatically expunge, on or before Jan. 1 of each year, law enforcement records of an arrest occurring before a youth’s 18th birthday if:

• one year or more has elapsed since the date of the arrest; 

• no petition for delinquency or criminal charges were filed in the Circuit Court;  and

• six months have elapsed without an additional subsequent arrest. 

Under Ord. No 65-O-18,  the Administrative Hearing Division, the Law Department, and all other City Departments will automatically expunge, on or before Jan. 1 of each year, a youth’s administrative hearing records relating to an incident occurring before their 18th birthday, if:

• one year has elapsed from the date on which the administrative hearing case relating to that incident was closed.

• a case was not closed and five years has elapsed since the case was adjudicated.

Ald. Braithwaite thanked members of the Committee and City staff for their work on this project. The Committee will continue to explore ways to find alternatives to arrest, he said.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...