WMU-Cooley Law School served 402 individuals during its “Michigan’s New Expungement Policies – Know Your Rights” Expungement Fair on Friday, April 28. Of those 402 who were screened for eligibility prior to and during the event, 151 individuals were eligible to have their records expunged under the current guidelines, including 77 walk-ins on the day of the event.
“At WMU-Cooley’s Expungement Fair, the people we served were grateful for the assistance we were able to provide. We were proud to work with the local legal community to help those whose lives may have been disrupted by poor decisions of the past that resulted in a felony or misdemeanor conviction,” said WMU-Cooley Law School President and Dean James McGrath. “Often people are passed over for employment or housing opportunities due to prior convictions. It is our hope that the people we served and educated during our expungement fair are no longer held back from achieving their goals. We want to make sure that they are recognized for the people they have become - and not for some poor choices they made years ago.”
“WMU-Cooley’s Expungement Fair was outstanding because it showcased everything that is amazing about Cooley,” said Christi Henke, director of WMU-Cooley’s Academic Resource Center. “Our students worked tirelessly, our graduates showed up to give back and various other members of the community served as attorneys, notaries and volunteers that helped to ease people through the process.”
The event was held in conjunction with Safe & Just Michigan, Legal Services of South Central Michigan, and Capital Area Michigan Works! Attendees and hosts included: State Representative Emily Dievendorf, State Representative Kara Hope, Senator Sarah Anthony, and Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.
Expungement removes arrests and convictions from a person’s public criminal record. Criminal offenses that have been expunged are no longer accessible to employers or landlords. Michigan law has always allowed for expungements, but the “Clean Slate” legislation enacted in 2020 made more individuals and offenses eligible for expungement. This process became available to the public in 2021. On April 11, 2023, the automatic expungement provisions went into effect, allowing for the automatic expungement of some felonies and misdemeanors. Under the new law, individuals with up to three expungement-eligible felonies and any number of misdemeanors can have their records expunged. Certain traffic violations and first-time operating while intoxicated offenses can be expunged. Additionally, misdemeanor marijuana convictions that would not have been considered crimes after recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan can be expunged.
Photo 1: Pictured from left to right: State Representative Emily Dievendorf, State Representative Kara Hope, and Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, at the WMU-Cooley Law School Expungement Fair on Friday, April 28.
Photo 2: WMU-Cooley Law School President and Dean James McGrath with student Cindy Renteria at the WMU-Cooley Law School Expungement Fair on Friday, April 28.
Photo 3: 54B District Court Administrator Nicole Evans, left, and Senator Sarah Anthony at the WMU-Cooley Law School Expungement Fair on Friday, April 28.
Photo 4: WMU-Cooley Law School served 402 individuals during its “Michigan’s New Expungement Policies – Know Your Rights” Expungement Fair on Friday, April 28.