Clean Slate Program
Even a brief encounter with the criminal justice system can scar a person for life, making it difficult to get jobs, housing, public benefits, and immigration relief. One in three adults in this country has been arrested by age 23. People of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with histories of abuse and mental illness, and low-income people are disproportionately affected. Entanglement in the criminal justice system affects more than just the accused. Families suffer from a parent’s inability to get jobs, housing, and assistance and communities stagnate from entrenched poverty. Clean Slate helps remove barriers to success by clearing up criminal records.
"The Clean Slate program offered me an opportunity to put a decade-old misdemeanor to rest, improving my employment prospects and giving me peace of mind. Their professional and hard-working staff are incredibly helpful, supportive, and nonjudgmental. It was so easy working with them, and I’m deeply appreciative of the service they provide." ~ J.R.
"When I reached out to Clean Slate, they quickly reviewed the details of my case and began working with me on an expungement. I had many questions to begin with and new ones came up quite often during the whole process. Joana, the staff paralegal, always responded in a timely manner and thoroughly answered my questions in a way that I could understand. I felt very well informed throughout the entire process. Prior to my hearing I attended another expungement hearing with Michelle so I could see the procedure in advance. Seeing it firsthand really helped relieve the nervousness I felt about my own upcoming hearing. After my expungement was granted, I still had questions and [some] administrative steps to complete with the court. Joana continued to be helpful with the procedures that took place following my hearing. I am grateful for the guidance and sincere attention that I received from everybody on the Clean Slate staff." ~ P.S.
"My experience with your office and the clean slate project was one of the most positive things that has ever happened in my life, and I cannot thank you enough.
I had been in the criminal system since I was a teenager, as an addict I continued making poor decisions until I found sobriety. The wreckage of my past and criminal record had continued to hinder me long after I got clean. As a professional chef, I was unable to obtain employment with any large companies, due to background checks and having to answer on applications that I was a convicted felon. I never thought I would ever be able [to] further my career and advance without some sort of relief from the justice system, and the clean slate project Facilitated that for me. Through clear and decisive guidelines of the criteria they look for to petition the court for the relief, your office made it much easier and seem more attainable. Your office's communication through the whole process was second to none I never felt like I was in the dark about any information. When your lawyer presented my case to the judge I appeared in court in person and was able to speak with the judge and the district attorney's office. It is very clear to me that without the support of your office the challenge of bringing my cases in front of a judge and looking for expungement or dismissals would’ve been so far out of my reach. All my cases were granted relief and expunged or dismissed, an outcome that would never be possible without the clean slate project and the Santa Cruz County public defender's office. Thank you personally for all of your help and the wonderful work you’re doing to help change people's lives that have made changes in their lives already. I say this with total sincerity, for anyone looking for relief in the criminal justice system through the clean slate project they will be in great hands in Santa Cruz county." ~ Z.I.
"I am deeply appreciative of the professionalism, support and encouragement provided as well as the outcome on these matters. I am both relieved and inspired through this process and the opportunity it empowers." ~ B.R.
"Thank you not only for the good news about the expungement but for the copy of my criminal record, as well. I gazed at the letter a long time, grateful to be freed from the social and economic obstacle that was the conviction.
Thank you for your efforts. I imagine that the mere expense of hiring a lawyer would have made it impossible for me to do this on my own. I appreciated especially both your keeping me informed about the progress of the application and your quick reply when I contacted you. These of your actions inspired confidence: the application was being worked on; it hadn't gotten lost in some pile of papers somewhere. […] May I wish you continued success in the work that you and your office are doing, advocating for those who otherwise would have no advocate at all" ~ anonymous