While it might sound strange, John Fuller would never think of trying to expunge his criminal record. As one of the nation’s most renowned and respected prison consultants, his former dark days and incarceration are the very credentials that have allowed him to change the lives of thousands following in his footsteps.
But that can’t be said for everyone and, according to Fuller, 90% of reformed former felons in the state of New Jersey will be forced to see their pasts punish them for the rest of their lives.
“I recently received a call from a guy named Gary Meyer, who wanted my help trying to expunge his criminal record. Gary spent some time behind bars over two decades ago for selling drugs to pay for his gambling addiction, and was becoming increasingly frustrated at still being labeled a felon today,” explains Fuller. “When we got talking, I couldn’t believe how Gary has turned his life around.”
Continuing, “Gary has been a business owner since 1996, has no rearrests, paid his way and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major from the Wharton School University of Pennsylvani, is a past member of the Board of Trustee, previously served as Chair of Intergroup for Gamblers Anonymous, volunteered as a finance and marketing director for a local animal shelter, foster parent for animals and even runs his own cat colony. He is a Kentucky Colonel, church member and even purchased bullet proof vests for a police department in Thailand with his own money to help the Police and has the support of many in New Jersey law enforcement'. But get this, his felon status still means that – twenty-three years after leaving prison – he is unable to leave the country for more than thirty days or conduct his business internationally. It’s a travesty, plain and simple.”
Current New Jersey legislation allows courts to expunge records for third-degree crimes when the state deems doing so would be in the public’s interest. But, even though second and third-degree crimes share the same prison time through statutes, no current legislation exists to expunge the records of second-degree felons such as Meyer.
“There is a fundamental bias in New Jersey laws regarding expungement of records. Governor Christie has done little to assist those who have been convicted decades. But we have to look beyond Gary’s isolated case; our draconian laws impact people of all races who have not had any further arrests for decades, whose original crimes were not violent and who have done more for their community since their release from prison than most non-felons could do in their lifetime. It’s time things changed, and I’m asking the public to sign Gary’s official petition for the expungement of his record.”
Numerous public figures have come out to support the campaign for Meyer’s pardon. NAACP 1st Vice President Chapter, Keith Benson, recently commented, "Gary Meyer has the unmitigated support of the NAACP regarding his motion to be pardoned and we are willing to do whatever we can to help him prevail." Benson further stated "Everything Gary has done for the African American Community over the years is in complete harmony with our agenda since its founding in 1909."
Meyer also has the support of former Gloucester County Prosecutor, now State Associate Parole Board, Lloyd Henderson, who agrees that the existing law to make second degree drug crimes expungable in the State of New Jersey. Gary happens to be Caucasian American.
Those interested in signing Meyer’s petition can do so via the Change.org website: https://www.change.org/p/gov-christie-give-this-ex-offender-a-second-chance-grant-my-pardon.