- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville attorney has filed a lawsuit seeking to expunge 350,000 cases that in the past 10 years have been dismissed or not prosecuted.

Attorney Daniel Horwitz filed the lawsuit Tuesday, asking a judge to order the mass expungement of the cases, which involve 128,000 people, The Tennessean reported (https://tnne.ws/1LguF57).

“A lot of the people who are affected by this already believe they’ve had their records expunged,” Horwitz said.

Horwitz said the case means people who have faced minor charges but never been found guilty won’t have to take time off to file expungement paperwork. According to a state law, people who have charges dismissed or not prosecuted can have those records destroyed if they file paperwork.

The lawsuit also proposes a year-by-year rollout to expunge eligible records when funding becomes available. Costs of finding and destroying records for eligible cases will fall to the departments that maintain records. Details of how to cover those costs are still being considered.

General Sessions Presiding Judge Rachel Bell, who heard the issue on Tuesday, said she was excited about the opportunity and would consider the financial impact. She is expected to rule on the case Nov. 9.

“The court will take diligent time to make sure that when we sign the order, it’s not going to put a lot of pressure on departments,” Bell said.

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