Legal Clinic helps offenders seal records

A program through the Cuyahoga County Office of re-entry and other community organizations are making a way for public offenders to clear their records.

The legal clinic was held at Detroit Shoreway's Gordon Square Arcade. Offenders were able to speak to lawyers and learn how to seal their records. That way any electronic or paper records of their criminal charges would become hidden from most employers and landlords.

Cullen Sweeney is Deputy Chief Public Defender. Sweeney said it can be difficult for offenders to secure employment.

"These are individuals that don't have much in the way of a criminal record. Either one felony and one misdemeanor or two misdemeanors. We are very familiar with the court system and all the judges, and so were able to advocate on their behalf to explain why sealing their record is important," said Sweeney.

Those interested only have to come and fill out an application, and if they're eligible lawyers can have their records sealed in about three to five months.

Sweeney said about 150 attended the clinic Saturday.

The program will be held three more times at various locations during the summer:

Saturday, July 29th at Northeast Shores (17625 Grovewood Cleveland, OH 44119) from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday, August 12th at Metro West's Lin Omni Centre (3167 Fulton Rd. Cleveland, OH 44109) from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saturday, August 19th at Famicos Foundation (1325 Ansel Rd. Cleveland, OH 44106) from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

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