LAWRENCE – People who have been arrested or convicted of crimes often face barriers to employment, housing or other opportunities – even long after they have served their sentences.
The University of Kansas School of Law Legal Aid Clinic and Douglas County Legal Aid Society Inc. will host a free clinic this weekend to help people who find themselves in this situation get a fresh start. The “Clean Slate” Expungement Clinic will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutritional Kitchen (LINK), First Christian Church, 221 W. 10th St. The clinic will overlap with LINK’s community meal, served from 1 to 2 p.m. that day.
An expungement seals an arrest record or conviction from public view, with certain exceptions.
“In many cases, people are eligible to petition for expungement but haven’t been able to because they need help navigating the legal system or cannot afford the legal fees,” said Meredith Schnug, associate director of KU’s Legal Aid Clinic. “This clinic can help obtain a fresh start for people who meet the requirements of the expungement laws and who qualify for free legal services.”
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. 25 clinic, clients will need to attend one additional appointment and any required court hearings with their attorney.
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. For questions, contact the KU Legal Aid Clinic at 785-864-5564.