April 4, 2019
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(CMD-13858-83) (Hon. Steven Wellner, Trial Judge)
Madsen for appellant.
Elizabeth Aloi, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom
Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman,
Nicholas P. Coleman, T. Anthony Quinn, and Jillian D. Willis,
Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for
Glickman and Thompson, Associate Judges, and Washington,
Thompson, Associate Judge.
legislation enacted in 2014, the Council of the District of
Columbia (the "Council") "decriminalized the
possession of . . . marijuana for personal
use." In 2015, the Council enacted legislation
entitled "Record Sealing for Decriminalized and
Legalized Offenses Act of 2014," codified as D.C. Code
§ 16-803.02 (2017).
1983, appellant, Antonin Washington, was charged with two
counts of possession of marijuana and two counts of
possession of phencyclidine (PCP). Mr. Washington pled guilty
to one count of possession of PCP; Superior Court records
indicate that the disposition of the marijuana counts and one
of the PCP counts was nolle prosequi. On May 4,
2017, relying on § 16-803.02, Mr. Washington filed a
motion to seal the publicly available records of his
"arrests and related court proceedings" in the 1983
matter (as well as records in matters from other years not
involved in this appeal). In an August 29, 2017, order, the
Superior Court denied the motion, stating that
"[p]ossession of PCP is not a decriminalized or
legalized offense" and therefore that Mr. Washington
could not "avail himself of relief under . . . §
16-803.02 . . . ." The court did not address whether to
grant Mr. Washington a part of the relief he sought by
sealing the records of his accompanying marijuana-possession
appeal followed. We affirm the Superior Court's ruling
insofar as it denied sealing of the records of Mr.
Washington's PCP arrest, charges, and conviction.
However, we remand for the Superior Court to consider whether
to seal the records relating to Mr. Washington's
accompanying arrest and charges for marijuana possession.
16-803.02 (2017) provides in pertinent part as follows:
(a) A person arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a
criminal offense pursuant to the District of Columbia
Official Code or the District of Columbia Municipal
Regulations that was decriminalized or legalized after the
date of the arrest, charge, or conviction may file a motion
to seal the record of the arrest, charge, conviction, and
related Superior Court proceedings at any time.
(A) The Superior Court shall grant a motion to ...