Possibly the most important piece of summarizing information in this article is that a person in the position to do so actually decided to expunge records automatically, without waiting for those convicted to defend themselves. That’s pretty good news!
As other commenters are pointing out what we built amounts to a few "if" statements and an excel macro. They're right! That's a good thing too, because it means that governments are well positioned to follow our work without needing a high-cost technology partner or RFP.
If you're in California and would like to ask your state reps and senators to support more legislation what would require proactive record clearance please take a look at AB 1076 and AB 972 (linked below).
AB 1076: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml...
AB 972: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtm...
Does Code For America have room for occasional and/or part time contributors... people with full time jobs that would love to help for a few hours a week here and there?
While they brigades aren't always working on the same projects as full time staff they're often doing high impact work and are super well connected to their local communities. They've built some really great projects in partnership with their local governments and CBOs.
I really don't get the thought process that leads to this kind of thing. "Let's make it so we have to have to implement a new system that people petition and we review to determine if we expunge their record."
Versus: "The new standard is if the conviction was for X, and the person does not have Y on their record, (etc.), then the record of X conviction is considered expunged. And then behind the scenes automatically make it so."
I also think they want manual reviews because there could be plenty of cases where they only charged the person with possession for personal use but might actually suspect them of worse crimes like intent to distribute or something else like possible gang affiliation. So I don't think they ever really want there to just be a blanket "oh there's no charge of a violent crime so we can wipe it" because they might be wiping the record of a known gang member or serious criminal but didn't have quite enough evidence to charge and convict them on the other offenses.
I come from a police district where that that probably just means they're non-white.
How is this not a punishment outside of due process?
I think procedures to effect expunging records follow the requirements of paper. If you have tens-/hundreds- of thousands of paper files, a law to require physical removal of the specific convictions is burdensome to whomever maintains the archive. A law that simply dictates ignoring old convictions under certain circumstances is bound to be misused (whether intentionally or unintentionally.)
Since we're now in a digital age of keeping these records, I believe that automating the 'deletion and cleanup' of files under specific conditions is laudable.
Addressing your comments about 'only charged ... but suspected of': this reeks of discrimination masquerading as safety. If you can prove it, charge the suspect and give them their day in court. If you can't prove it, a LEO's own suspicions have no place in the decision making process of other cases.
"Serious crime" Tell that to people who were in possession of some cannabis flowers and are now sitting next to rapists and murderers in federal prison.
I think the legal system could use through computerization personally but I am biased and recognize that would be one hell of a project to transition and avoid disaster - let alone the political capital involved.
It would be a bueraceatic task in a non-perojative sense - it is dull and not something impressive but if you are stuck doing it anyway it could make things easier for you.
What exactly do you mean by "considered," here? By whom/what?
The app itself appears to be written in Ruby (the github link is posted elsewhere in the comments), and looking at the image included in the article further down I assume the code is from a Go app that takes the Ruby app's logs and generates some statistics.
(Also use consts so you don’t make typos - or so your typos are at least consistent :)
There u go ,crazy machine learning algorithm :O
Besides, how many innocent verdicts for these crimes can there be? Prosecutors don't care near as much about pot possession as cops do (because they're not the ones getting the federal money), and they plea out possession when there's any doubt about convicting on more serious charges.
The topic of AI or algorithms making mistakes is not relevant to this article at all. It doesn't summarize the content, and the implication that it might be code run amok, in the title, is super misleading and undermines the positive things the people in the article are trying to do, both the politicians who did the right thing, and the efforts of Code For America.