More than 100 people stopped by the First SLO Clean Slate Clinic on Friday.
It was an opportunity to wipe out a person’s criminal record; of course, with certain requirements.
One participant described having a clear record like taking the weight off his shoulders.
“I couldn't get promoted within my job. [I] was always just to a certain level or a certain tier, and that's what was troubling me the most,” he said.
Program participants walked into the Law Library at the San Luis Obispo Courthouse with the hope of getting their criminal records wiped clean. Other options included information to get a felony reduction and the sealing of an arrest record.
“People who have been convicted in San Luis Obispo County seeking an expungement will have that conviction vacated and a dismissal entered in that case, which means you can legally check ‘no’ on any job applications or for property managers applications for housing that they weren't convicted of that charge, which makes them a better candidate for housing or employment,” explained Joseph Doherty, the managing attorney for the California Rural Legal Assistance.
It was a collaboration between California Rural Legal Assistance, SLO County District Attorney’s Office, SLO Probation Department, SLO College Of Law, People’s Justice Project, and Restorative Partners.
“Somebody could come in, get to meet with an attorney, get the paperwork filled out, probation will give their input and give any background and then it goes to Deputy DAs who are here also writing in whether or not we have an objection,” said Sheryl Wolcott, SLO County Chief Deputy District Attorney. “If we don't have an objection, the defense will then file those right away with the court for the judge to sign. ”
A 2019 reportby the California Policy Lab found that 1 in 8 Californians with a criminal record is potentially eligible for full record clearance.
“A battery conviction, as I mentioned, a petty theft, a drunk in public, possessing alcohol in public, possession of alcohol by a minor,” Wolcott listed. “Those types of crimes, as long as a person successfully completed their sentence, completed probation, if they were given probation by law, they are entitled to this expungement. ”
Folks at the clinic are looking forward to what the future holds.
“Just a stepping stone to get you your life back, your freedom back, your everything back so you can excel to the highest level that you possibly could,” a client told KSBY News.
If you couldn’t make it to the clinic, you can reach out to California Rural Legal Assistance at (805) 902-CRLA to see if your case is eligible for this program.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and California Rural Legal Assistance are hoping to host more clinics like the one on Friday in order to present all resources in one place.