Free legal clinic helps convicted defendants erase 45 criminal cases from records, mostly felonies
photo by: Mike Yoder
A total of 45 criminal cases have been erased from defendants’ public records through a recent free expungement clinic at Douglas County District Court.
Most of those convictions were for felonies, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson. Some of the 45 cases were from defendants who had multiple convictions expunged at once, she said.
The DA’s office announced results this week from February’s “Clean Slate Expungement Clinic,” which offered free legal aid to community members seeking expungement of criminal convictions. If a conviction is expunged, with certain exceptions, no information related to the arrest or conviction may be disclosed.
“For many years, expungements have been used to restore a citizen’s status in the community,” Branson said in a news release. “A lack of knowledge about the process and the cost associated with pursuing an expungement have historically prevented some people, especially those with limited means, from clearing their record. We are happy we could help our residents restore their community standing and to remove what could have been a roadblock to their goals.”
One expungement case was begun but delayed until October to resolve “a restitution issue,” according to the news release.
An additional 20 applications did not lead to expungements, as they were ineligible to proceed for various reasons, the news release said.
A judge presided over expungement hearings, involving some cases dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, according to a court docket.
The clinic was put on by the DA’s office, Douglas County Legal Aid Society, Lawrence City Prosecutor’s Office, Kansas Legal Services and University of Kansas Legal Aid Clinic.