Human trafficking is a serious issue that has come to the fore in recent political history. As part of the legislature’s attempt to address the victims of human trafficking, a new statute was created for the expungement of criminal records for those victims.
Human Trafficking Expungement
The new statute carves out the ability to expunge most arrests during the time, and because of being a victim of human trafficking. A person who was the victim of human trafficking now has the ability to expunge those arrests that appear on his or her record directly resulting from the forced activity related to human trafficking.
Below are listed the case law directly referring to human trafficking expungements. They are in a reverse chronological order that addresses this new law. Each snippet is taken directly from the opinion. All links are to Google Scholar.
M. G. v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2393c (Fla. 3d DCA, Oct. 24, 2018): M.G., a human trafficking victim, appeals from an order denying a petition to expunge her criminal history record, filed pursuant to section 943.0583, Florida Statutes (2017) (“the Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute”). We affirm because, while that statute generally permits the trial court to exercise its discretion in ordering the expunction of criminal history records of human trafficking victims, the trial court correctly determined that the plain language of the statute excludes expunction of criminal history records related to the offense of kidnapping. As . . . part of the negotiated plea, the State nolle prossed the kidnapping charge. [T]he Human Trafficking Victim Expunction Statute addresses expunction “of a criminal history record resulting from the arrest or filing of charges . . . without regard to the disposition of the arrest or of any charges.” We agree with the trial court’s conclusion that section 943.0583(3) admits of no ambiguity, and its plain language precluded the trial court from exercising its discretion to grant expunction of M.G.’s criminal history records related to the offense of kidnapping. “The cardinal rule of statutory construction is ‘that a statute should be construed so as to ascertain and give effect to the intention of the Legislature as expressed in the statute.’ ” City of Tampa v. Thatcher Glass Corp., 445 So. 2d 578, 579 (Fla. 1984) (quoting Deltona Corp. v. Florida Public Service Comm’n, 220 So. 2d 905 (Fla. 1969)). “Legislative intent is the polestar by which the court must be guided, and this intent must be given effect even though it may contradict the strict letter of the statute.” State v. Webb, 398 So. 2d 820, 824 (Fla. 1981).
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