Traveling expungement clinics launched in rural Michigan

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    Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack on Thursday announced five traveling clinics to help those seeking to clear their criminal records, which can help them find housing or continue their educations.

    “We are a nation of laws, and our expungement laws support giving people second chances,” said McCormack. “With a clean record, people can better provide for their families and achieve their dreams.”

    Bridget McCormack

    University of Detroit Mercy School of Law received a grant from the Michigan State Bar Foundation to fund the clinics. The clinic will take eight law students to rural counties — Gratiot, Wexford, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Crawford and Otsego — to provide a one-stop shop clinic for each of those five jurisdictions. Local judges, law enforcement, volunteer attorneys and students will use Michigan Legal Help resources to screen eligible applicants, and assist them in completing applications for expungements.

    The clinic also helps to secure hearing dates and filing applications with the court. A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan Law School found that people who received expungements saw their wages increase by an average of 25% within two years.

    “Courts and judges must be accessible and must engage with their local communities,” said Clinton County Judge Michelle Rick.  “The process of applying for an expungement can be a daunting task, so hosting these clinics to help applicants navigate the process is rewarding for everyone involved, while increasing access and community engagement.  As a result, courts earn public trust and confidence in our legal system.”

    For more information about the clinics, contact Nicholas Schroeck, director of clinical programs and associate professor at 313-596-9817, or Rebecca Simkins Nowak, clinical program coordinator at 313-596-9409.

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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