Starting my junior year in High School, I began clerking at my father’s law office. He mainly practices probate law and does estate planning, but this particular year, for some reason, saw an unusually large amount of criminal cases, specifically DWIs and POMs (possession of marijuana). The District Attorney at that time, Pat Lykos, had concocted a program called the “DIVERT” program (it is an acronym for something, but I don’t remember), for first time offenders. In order to complete the program, offenders would be required to complete a number of conditions beforehand, sort of like “Probation-Plus”. If all went well, the charges would be dropped and the records could be expunged, sort of like a mixture between “pre-trial diversion” and “deferred adjudication probation.” I saw these programs in action, and I saw that they worked.
Anyways, enter Mike Anderson, and the firebrand of conservatism that loathes anything that could be deemed “soft on crime.” Anderson campaigns against the DIVERT program, wins the primary, and then goes virtually unopposed in the general election. On January 1st, the day of Anderson’s inauguration, every Criminal lawyer I knew received the same email: that DIVERT would stop, effective immediately.
Then, a ray of hope. The reason the DIVERT program existed in the first place was because deferred adjudication probation for DWIs was banned by the State Legislature. Now, Anderson is lobbying the legislature to change that law. He wants deferred adjudication probation to be restored for first-offender DWI defendants. Oddly, the Chronicle, in its lousy article on this subject, implies that deferred adjudication probationary convictions may be expunged, but that is not even a little bit true. One may, however, prevent the general public from ever knowing of the conviction, but in the eyes of the government, it most definitely still happened.