Home Main Category Announcements Contra Costa Dismisses, Seals 3,264 Marijuana Convictions Under Prop 64

Contra Costa Dismisses, Seals 3,264 Marijuana Convictions Under Prop 64


From the Office of the District Attorney:

CONTRA COSTA – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and Code for America today announced that 3,264 marijuana convictions eligible for relief under Proposition 64 will be dismissed and sealed as part of their cutting-edge partnership.

“I am grateful the partnership with Code for America has given us the ability to deliver tangible results for members of our community by dismissing old marijuana convictions allowed under the law. Far too often old criminal convictions for minor drug offenses can leave a lasting mark on an individual’s life. The removal of these convictions effectively reduces barriers to licensing, education, housing and employment. It is imperative that we continue to be innovative in our approach to reforming and strengthening the criminal justice system,” said Diana Becton, District Attorney for Contra Costa County.

“At Code for America, we believe government can work dramatically better than it does today; the criminal justice system is one of the areas in which we are most failing the American people. We must make sure that California lives up to the obligation of Proposition 64 and now AB 1793,” said Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America. “I’d like to thank Contra Costa District Attorney Becton for her leadership on this issue. Through our partnership, we will remove barriers to employment, housing, health and education for thousands of Californians. By reimagining existing government systems through technology and user-centered design, we can rethink incarceration, reduce recidivism and restore opportunity.”

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office used Code for America’s Clear My Record technology, which reads bulk criminal history data from the California Department of Justice, and securely and accurately analyzes eligibility for record remediation under state law.  This technology can analyze eligibility for thousands of convictions in just a few minutes, alleviating the need for DA staff to go through state criminal records one by one to evaluate eligibility, a time and labor-intensive process.

This partnership helps address wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs, felt most strongly by communities of color. Approximately 2,400 individuals will receive conviction relief through this partnership. Of those, approximately 36% are Black or African American, 45% are White, 15% are Latinx, 2% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2% are other or unknown.

Contra Costa is the fifth California District Attorney’s Office to announce a pilot partnership with Code for America and use Clear My Record Technology to clear marijuana-related convictions eligible under Proposition 64.  The other counties  include San Francisco, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Los Angeles.   In total, these five pilots will help reduce or dismiss approximately 75,000 Proposition 64 eligible convictions.

Earlier this year, Code for America also launched its new Clear My Record Application and Implementation Blueprint, available at no cost and open source to all California counties.  These resources allow all District Attorneys’ offices to follow the lead of DA Becton and expedite and streamline review of Prop 64 convictions.  

Record Clearance for the Digital Age

Record clearance was not built for the digital age.  Previously, each person seeking relief had to petition the court on their own to clear their records, but this is a time-consuming, expensive, and confusing process.  Because of these barriers, the vast majority of those eligible for relief have not received it.

With the aid of Code for America’s Clear My Record technology, a DA’s office can automatically and securely evaluate eligibility for record clearance for thousands of convictions in just a few minutes.

This requires no action on the part of the individual, and minimal staff time and resources from the DA’s office — two obstacles for record clearance. Streamlining conviction data processing will also make it easier for courts to update records, ensuring that individuals can obtain relief as soon as possible. 

These partnerships set the standard for the statewide implementation of Assembly Bill 1793, which tasks prosecutors with affirmatively reviewing convictions eligible for dismissal or reduction under Proposition 64.  This novel approach also creates a blueprint for the future of record clearance for remedies beyond Proposition 64 — the development of policy and technology that expands, streamlines and automates the record clearance process at scale.

Code for America has been making it easier for people to remove eligible convictions from their records through Clear my Record technology since 2016.


  1. As this state gets softer and softer on crime (drugs, etc.) quit voting for these soft on crime idiots. “Felt most strongly by communities of color?” 45% are white, and every community of color has less than 45%. So sick of the liberal mindset.

    • Well, here’s the rub: The expunged convictions stemmed from conduct that is no longer criminal. This is not the result of a public official pandering for votes. Indeed, the underlying statutory provisions were confirmed pursuant to Proposition 64, a 2016 ballot initial approved by nearly eight minutes (over 57%) California voters. Fewer than six million (less than 43%) voted to reject the initiative.

      As such, characterizing the events described in this announcement as “soft on crime” confounds even the most primitive logic. How is it possible for the DA to be “soft” (or “hard,” for that matter) on conduct that is not criminal?

      • Well done Campo Coug. If anybody could use some of that tasty California recreational cannabis, which is now LEGAL, it’s the first person to comment on this article. I love California and it’s liberal mindset and I think people that are “sick” should move to Missouri where marijuana and abortion are illegal.

      • If it was illegal at the time of the conviction, the conviction should stand. That’s logic. If a conviction for a minor drug offense hinders your life, don’t do drugs.

        • Why should due process be denied to a citizen convicted of a crime for violating a subsequently repealed law? Barring petitions for expungement on that basis is antithetical to logic and insoluble with centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence.

          Such reasoning would hold that the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, would not provide a legal basis to expunge a former slave’s antebellum conviction for escape.

          Imagine taking such a preposterous, repugnant view at a dinner party!

          The Thirteenth Amendment was in fact silent on whether such convictions should stand. (Congress subsequently promulgated a statue nullifying such convictions.)

          Fortunately, Prop 64 allows for no such ambiguity. California Health & Safety Code Section 11361.8(e) provides that “[a person who has completed his or her sentence for a conviction … [for specified cannabis-related offenses] … who would not have been guilty of an offense or who would have been guilty of a lesser offense under … [Prop 64 if it had] … been in effect at the time of the offense, may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to have the conviction dismissed and sealed because the prior conviction is now legally invalid.”

          On what legal — never mind ethical or moral — basis should we deny due process and condemn ex-cons to a lifetime of stigma?

          • We’re not taking a stance either way on this comment but, see kids, that’s how you shape your argument! Thanks everyone for keeping it civil and real… good stuff.

          • “Why should due process be denied to a citizen convicted of a crime for violating a subsequently repealed law?”

            Because it was ILLEGAL at the time they committed the crime. If you were a lawyer, I hope you were never a prosecutor.

            As far as ex-cons, they stigmatized themselves when they CHOSE to commit a FELONY. Whose fault is that?

            The DA’s office is the one doing the work, not the people who were convicted. Is it too confusing for them, or are they too lazy to do it themselves?

            Convicting someone for illegal drug use is not a “wrong.” What part of illegal didn’t they understand?

            What annoys me more than expunging their records is the DA’s office wasting their time on this when they have more important things to do. Becton is a far left…

        • There are some commenters who have the same solution for every story. As noted above, the voters legalized marijuana. Rather than having people on the street, who aren’t working, due to old convictions, how about we lift one of the last problems that prevents people from gainful employment?

          Seriously, some of the folks who visit the site could use some recreational weed. Li,e a lot of it.

  2. “A 2016 ballot initial approved by nearly eight minutes (over 57%) California voters.” That’s what drugs will do to you. So over 57% of California voters got this done in eight minutes? That’s fascinating.

    • A logical person would understand that he/she was typing “million,” and it got auto-corrected to “minutes.”

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