CLEVELAND — It is being called an opportunity to finally put the past in the past and start fresh.
"Everybody deserves a second chance," said Earl B. Turner, Clerk of Cleveland Municipal Courts.
On Thursday morning, officials will hold a record-sealing expungement clinic in Cleveland.
It's a one-stop shop, and a first-of-its-kind event in the area.
The clinic gives folks the opportunity to expunge and seal their non-violent misdemeanors, if they qualify.
For many, it’s a weight off their shoulders and a necessary step toward taking their lives to the next level when it comes to finding work and a home.
"It's a new beginning for folks," said Melanie Shakarian, Spokesperson for Legal Aid.
For the first time, Cleveland Municipal judges are partnering with the Cleveland Prosecutor, Cleveland Clerk of Courts and the non-profit group Legal Works.
They're taking their efforts into the community and hosting the one-day record-sealing expungement clinic at the Glenville Recreation Center on East 113th Street.
The complete process was intentionally created to be as efficient and effective as possible for all.
"We've coordinated with all of those agencies so that a person's record can be sealed in one day, and traditionally it can take three months or longer to have your record sealed," said Turner.
Judges, like Administrative Presiding Judge Michelle D. Earley of the Cleveland Municipal Court, will hear recommended cases and then issue an order to seal them on the same day.
"The reason to actually come to this clinic, and why it's different from...some other clinics is that the court will be there and we will be there to provide," said Earley.
Only misdemeanors and non-violent offenses, including pending or closed marijuana cases, can be expunged.
DUIs, sex offenses, violent felony convictions and traffic offenses cannot be sealed.
The entire operation is being called a game-changing moment for so many who have turned their lives around and are now working to better themselves and overcome prior obstacles.
"Employment rates and wages go up and recidivism goes down after somebody gets legal help to expunge or seal a record," said Shakarian.
Those who attend will have their backgrounds checked for any pending cases.
You can register in person at the Glenville Recreation Center starting at 9 a.m. and come back at 1 p.m.
Officials believe they will continue to host these events in the future.
"I mean, it will be time well spent because it's all in a day. So, you know, we encourage people to show up and to participate," said Earley.
News 5 is also working to give Northeast Ohioans a second chance with our "Moving Forward" initiative. We are now welcoming appeals from people who would like the station to update past articles or remove an article entirely from News5Cleveland.com, including stories involving non-violent misdemeanors.
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