Some with Criminal Records Get a Possible Second Chance

“I hope they leave here with the confidence knowing this process can work for them,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

A possible second chance for those who may have made some bad decisions in their past.

Some University of Detroit Mercy law students held an expungement clinic in Cadillac Monday.

With the help from volunteers including local judges and lawyers, they helped several people learn more about clearing their criminal record.

“Many people are burdened with very old criminal convictions and they may be unaware that there are laws in Michigan that allow for those convictions to be removed,” said Hon. Michelle Rick, 29th circuit court judge

A second chance and a new beginning for some with criminal convictions.

“We have the ability to review those convictions to see if they are eligible for expungement,” said Rick.

To qualify to have your record cleared, you can’t have more than two misdemnors and one felony and they have to be at least five years old.

“As we know those convictions sometimes can be barriers in terms of employment, educational opportunities, public benefits,” said Rick. “We will do as much as we can to get people completed with their application.”

Monday’s clinic helped people start the application process.

If approved, they get fingerprinted and set up a hearing date.

However not all crimes qualify.

Those with a life offense, sexual assault or violent offense will not be able to take those off their record.

“Expungements are discretionary, which means that judges have the ultimate say on whether a conviction or convictions can be expunged,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist.

Gilchrist came to Monday’s event.

He says it’s important to give people the tools to succeed.

“We need to bring services to people, bring information to people, bring opportunity to people and put it in front of them so they can make good choices,” said Gilchrist. “I hope that they will be able to become advocates for fighting to change these expungement laws to make them more accessible so more people have a chance to clean up their records and have a new chapter,” said Gilchrist.