The University of Akron School of Law in cooperation with the City of Akron has announced a new initiative named the Akron Law Criminal Expungement Clinic.
The City of Akron has provided Akron Law with a $10,000 grant to finance the program, which will allow Akron Law students to assist Akron residents on having their felonies expunged from their records. Students will work under the supervision of Akron Law Legal Clinic Director and Professor of Law J. Dean Carro and Akron Law graduate Aviva Wilcher, who will serve as director of the Criminal Expungement Clinic.
“Almost 20 students who have been trained on expungement law and will meet with members of the community who are interested in having their records sealed,” explains Wilcher. We also have students who are interned certified who will be able to actually go into court with our applicants and make the argument to have the criminal convictions, as well as dismissals sealed. In the state of Ohio a felony conviction is eligible for expungement three years after whatever sanctions were imposed.”
Convictions for first- and second-degree felonies — including murder, rape, felonious assault and kidnapping — or any violent crime can never be sealed. Nor can a crime that warrants a mandatory prison sentence, or any sex crime or case where the victim was a child. Those convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or drivers who refuse to be tested for drugs or alcohol, also can't apply. Only first-time offenders are eligible. Additionally, participants must be a resident of Akron for at least one year.
The program was the brainchild of Akron City Council President Marco S. Sommerville who contacted Akron Law about partnering for this program.
“It is clear that there needs to be some revamping done in this system,” said Sommerville. “There is a major problem with people in this community who have felonies and are unable to receive a second chance at life.”
To learn more about the Akron Law Criminal Expungement Clinic, call 330-972-7751.