KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Local leaders will hold an event Saturday for people hoping to clear their criminal records.
“A lot of people struggle with things that were from their youth and might have even happened 10, 15, even 20 years ago but still when they check that box becomes an automatic barrier,” Amanda Sterkenburg said.
Sterkenburg is a Grand Rapids attorney who specializes in criminal law. She’s one of the people hosting the Expungement Clinic Saturday in Kentwood. Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School is also hosting.
She says her goal is to make sure people in Michigan who have committed low-level crimes know their rights.
“I feel like a lot of people are entitled to second chances but too intimidated by the process and procedure to actually apply for it and to have the opportunity,” Sterkenburg said.
Right now, a package of bills is making its way through the state legislature known as the Clean Slate Bills. They would make it easier for those looking to expunge their records, especially when it comes to marijuana-related charges.
“We have a lot of people out there who have misdemeanor or felony marijuana offenses, and marijuana is legal now,” Sterkenburg said. “Society’s attitude in general has shifted and obviously the legal attitude has shifted as to whether or not this is a crime that requires incarceration.”
Saturday’s clinic is taking place at the Kentwood Public Schools’ Administration Building, located at 5820 Eastern Ave SE.