UB Law Clinic students participate in Maryland’s first Expungement/Shielding Fair

Expungement/Shielding Fair Participants
Expungement/Shielding Fair Participants

On October 1, students from the Civil Advocacy Clinic and the Human Trafficking Project participated in Maryland’s first all-day Expungement/Shielding Fair.  We were part of a team of legal services lawyers who provided legal advice to over 1100 people to aid them in expunging arrests and certain other criminal charges from their records.  New Maryland laws went into effect on October 1 that expand the range of dispositions eligible for expungements and shielding.  In an era when criminal records are accessible to anyone with a computer, even a minor or decades-old criminal record can be a significant barrier to employment, housing or other opportunities.  Many people would be surprised to learn that even acquittals (i.e., findings of innocence) still appear on a person’s criminal record.  Estimates show that about seventy-six percent of criminal charges filed in Baltimore are eligible for expungement, and thus, the need for assistance with the process is massive.  UB was proud to be part of the effort to expand opportunities for our fellow Baltimoreans.  When student attorney Melissa DeLeon apologized to a client for the amount of forms involved and joked that “I’m sorry that you’re signing your life away,” he responded, “I’m not signing my life away, I’m signing to get it back.”

Advertisements