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images_black_unemployment11Detroit residents who have trouble finding jobs because of past mistakes can take advantage of a free event this weekend that could help them remove crimes from their records.

The City of Detroit Law Department and Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) are hosting Project Clean Slate, where Detroiters can get their nonviolent criminal backgrounds expunged. The fair is free to residents, and will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Fellowship Chapel, 7707 W. Outer Drive.

More than 100 lawyers and law students have been recruited to represent eligible applicants in court for free. In exchange for the representation in Wayne County Circuit Court and 36th District Court, applicants agree to sign up with the City’s Workforce Development agency to assist in their job readiness and placement. Residents should bring their photo ID.

This program will be held on a quarterly basis at convenient locations throughout the city.

“Too often, folks who made a mistake in the past are unable to even get job interviews,” said Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, corporation counsel for the City of Detroit. “They want to work, but they can’t get started. This event will help them get their record clean and get into the job stream.”

There are an estimated 70,000 Detroit residents eligible to have part of their record expunged, Hollowell said.

“I don’t believe there’s been a program like this anywhere before,” he said.

In order to take advantage of this service, residents must participate in the City’s job-readiness program.

“This program is about giving good people who have paid for their past mistakes the opportunity to start over and become productive contributors to our city’s comeback,” said Jose Reyes, interim director of the DESC.

For this program, the City has partnered with organizations such as the Detroit Branch NAACP, Michigan ACLU, Wayne State University Law School, Cooley Law School, Office of the Wayne County Clerk, Wayne Circuit Court Criminal Division, 36th District Court, the Detroit Police Department, Wolverine Bar Association, Straker Bar Association, Delta Sigma Theta, and others.

Detroiters can pre-register at http://www.detroitmi.gov/projectcleanslate.

At the fair, resources will be available to help Detroiters:

  • Prepare an application for record expungement.
  • Get connected with an attorney that can help you through the process.
  • Find information about jobs available to former offenders.
  • Find information about job readiness programs and Workforce Development.

Who does NOT qualify for expungement?

You are NOT ELIGIBLE for Set-Aside (Expungement) if any of the following are true:

It has been less than five (5) years since your release from prison, discharge from probation or parole.

If your conviction is for the following offenses:

  •            If you commit or attempt to commit a felony for which the punishment is maximum possible life sentence, such as, but not limited to: murder, armed robbery, etc.
  •            If you have been convicted of any offense classified as “Criminal Sexual Conduct” (CSC), first through third degrees or assault with intent for such conduct (including attempt).
  •            If you have been convicted of a CSC fourth degree and have been convicted of more than two minor offenses.
  •            If you have been convicted of child abuse in the second degree.
  •            If you have been convicted of child pornography.
  •            If you have been convicted of an Internet or computer offense.
  •            Traffic violations are unable to be set-aside, including drunken driving offenses.
  •            If you have a felony conviction of domestic violence in addition to a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.
  •            If you are convicted of a human trafficking crime and cannot prove that you were a victim of human trafficking.
  •            If you are convicted of an act of terrorism.
  •            If you have more than one felony, or more that two misdemeanor offenses.

Please note that a conviction that was deferred or dismissed due to successful completion of a program will count as a misdemeanor.

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