LAWRENCE – People who have been arrested or convicted of crimes often face barriers to gaining employment, finding a place to live and other opportunities – even long after they have served their sentences.
The University of Kansas School of Law Legal Aid Clinic, Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Lawrence City Prosecutor’s Office and Kansas Legal Services will host a free clinic to help people who find themselves in this situation get a fresh start.
The “Clean Slate” Expungement Clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the Douglas County District Court, 111 E. 11th St. Individuals who attend the event will meet with a legal intern or attorney to determine eligibility for expungement.
An expungement seals an arrest record or conviction from public view, with certain exceptions.
“This expungement clinic is exciting because so many entities in our community are coming together for a common purpose,” said Meredith Schnug, associate director of KU’s Legal Aid Clinic.
For the third year, the Legal Aid Clinic will provide free legal representation to eligible individuals seeking to expunge records in Douglas County District Court and/or Lawrence Municipal Court. The clinic can accept clients with income up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Clients who do not qualify for a waiver of the filing fee will need to pay those court costs, but no attorney’s fees, as long as they are eligible for services. After the Feb. 22 clinic, clients will need to attend one additional appointment and any required court hearings with their attorney.
Last year’s expungement clinic assisted nearly 50 people.
“For many years, expungements have been used to restore a citizen’s status in the community,” said Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, L’96. “However, lack of knowledge about the process and costs associated with pursuing an expungement prevents many people, especially those with limited means, from clearing his or her record to improve their life.”
The Legal Aid Clinic at the KU School of Law offers students the opportunity to fine-tune their lawyering skills in a fast-paced, live-client setting by representing low-income clients under the careful guidance and thoughtful teaching of supervising attorneys. Since 1967, the Legal Aid Clinic has been working to secure “justice for and to protect the rights of the needy” in a wide range of civil and misdemeanor criminal cases.
For more details about the expungement process, visit the Facts about Expungement in Kansas page on the Kansas Legal Services website. Questions? Contact the KU Legal Aid Clinic at 785-864-5564.
The Kansas Bar Foundation provides support for this event.