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East Lansing Virtual Expungement Clinic Helps Dozens Get A Clean Slate

paper that says, "record expungement," a gavel sits on top of the page
More than 70 people attended a recent expungement clinic in East Lansing.

Thousands of people in Mid-Michigan have criminal records for minor charges that may have happened decades ago.

Advocates with the Legal Services of South Central Michigan are helping them set aside their criminal records.

East Lansing resident, Thomas Rucker, says he’s been dealing with two felonies on his record from crimes he committed more than a decade ago.

Up until April, Rucker was not eligible for expungement, but a new state law expands the number of misdemeanors and felonies people can clear from their record. 

Most violent crimes, sexual misconduct and alcohol-related driving offenses are not eligible to be set aside from someone’s record.

Last week, Rucker was one of 71 people who began the process of expungement through a virtual clinic  hosted in East Lansing. 

“So basically, like getting them expunged, I feel like it's gonna help me in my family because there's been a lot of opportunities that I have missed out on because of the charges that I had when I was younger," he said.

Rico Neal was a volunteer attorney at the clinic and is helping Rucker with the process. He said the event drew people who have struggled for years to get a job because of crimes they committed in their past.

“If they can expunge their records then we can remove obstacles and barriers that are preventing those who want to do better and be positive and productive members within the community," he added.

As for Rucker, he said he feels hopeful for an opportunity of a new life. 

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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