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Free KU clinic to help clients expunge criminal record, start with 'clean slate'

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

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/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. 10, at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK), First Christian Church, 221 W. 10th St. The clinic will overlap with LINK’s community meal, served from 1 p.m. 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. “Expungement is an important process to give people a fresh start when they demonstrate they have moved beyond a criminal past.”

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. 10 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.

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 Douglas County Community Foundation has provided generous support for this event.