Criminal expungement fair draws hundreds

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An expungement fair held in Grand Rapids Saturday gave hundreds of people an opportunity for a clean slate.

The Black and Brown Cannabis Guild partnered with Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School to offer free legal support to people hoping to have past convictions removed from their criminal record.  

Founder of Black and Brown Cannabis Guild Denavvia Mojet told News 8 the group’s mission is to help remove the barriers keeping people from future opportunities.  

“There was a focus on highlighting the inequity for people of color who have been criminalized and given convictions because of the war on drugs disproportionately,” Mojet said. “We wanted to address those convictions.” 

The fair gave people the chance to begin the expungement process by offering free, on-site legal services and other guidance about the process ahead.

Mojet was stunned by the turnout, saying out of the 435 people who came out, most had criminal records consisting of drug offenses or other low-level convictions.

“One man teared up telling me about how he was a pastor and needed to get an unarmed robbery conviction from 20 years prior removed just so he could work in the teen program that he had started and designed for his church,” Mojet said.

While a judge has the final say on whether convictions are wiped from someone’s record, Mojet and her team are committed to getting the cases to that point.  

The Black and Brown Cannabis Guild plans to have another expungement fair soon but doesn’t have a date set yet.  

Event organizers said that people seeking expungement must meet these requirements:

More than 5 years since being convicted or released, discharged from parole or completed probation. 

A person convicted of a crime may apply to have one felony or two misdemeanor conviction expunged from their record.

No criminal convictions in another state.

No federal convictions.

No felony convictions or attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

Non-felony criminal sexual conduct or assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.

If you meet this requirements, you can order a criminal background report, be screened for eligibility and consult with an attorney. You’ll also have to be fingerprinted. If there are no problems, a request for expungement would be filed with the court, which would hold a hearing and decide whether to grant it.

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