San Diego

DA Won’t Use Computer Program Helping Other Counties Overturn Pot Convictions

Some counties in California, including Los Angeles and San Joaquin, are taking bigger steps to overturn pot convictions under Proposition 64.

The counties announced that they are working with a non-profit group called Code for America and a computer program called Clear My Record to locate cannabis convictions in the courts that are eligible to be cleared.

The computer program uses an algorithm to scan thousands of convictions. Officials estimate there are about 50,000 eligible cases in Los Angeles County alone.

But San Diego County won't be one of the municipalities using the tool, Dave Greenberg with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office told NBC, citing skepticism that a computer program could perfectly find eligible convictions.

“We are not looking to work with Code For America at this time. No matter what they do, a DDA (Deputy District Attorney) still has to review the case file to ensure that a defendant is eligible for relief,” Greenberg said. “There are many exclusions that cannot be determined just by a computer search.”

Greenberg said the county doesn’t want to put anyone at risk by not taking a thorough look at all of the details in a given case.

According to Greenberg, the DA’s office was at the forefront of the effort to overturn pot convictions when Prop 64 first passed. They started with the most pressing cases, which included people who were in jail or on probation.

To date, nearly 1,500 qualified cases have been overturned.

Defense attorney Jan Ronis said going through and finding every case that qualifies since the proposition passed would be quite an undertaking.

“If they had to painstakingly go through every single case file in San Diego the last 20 years it would be just enormous task,” she said.

Ronis said that people who feel that a conviction is impacting their life by making them unable to get a job, find housing, or obtain an education can go online and see if they qualify.

This can be done on the forms section of the San Diego Superior Court website.

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