Attorneys help public expunge records
by Paisley Boston
Feb 21, 2014 | 2090 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Magnolia Bar Association is offering free record expungement services on Saturday at the Bolivar County Courthouse in Cleveland between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The event is being called "Restoration Day" and its purpose is to help individuals who have received misdemeanors or felonies convictions and have been denied public housing, job opportunities or welfare.

"Restoration Day is an effort to bring awareness to citizens that have been convicted of certain felonies and misdemeanors in efforts of reinstating their records to the reconviction state," said Attorney Errick Simmons.

The Magnolia Bar has scheduled expungement clinics in the following counties: Adams, Bolivar, Hinds, Jefferson, LaFayette, Lowndes, Leflore, Tallahatchie, and Washington. 

Individuals who desire to take part in this event must bring in a copy of their criminal record and a filing fee, which varies according to jurisdictions.

Most of these documents can be obtained from local police and sheriff departments.

According to Simmons, filing fees can vary anywhere between $235 and sometimes lower or higher.

"Restoration day provides many people with a new lease on life and aids them in becoming better productive citizens in society.

This will allow citizens to vote, apply for jobs and apply for public housing that they were formerly deprived of because of their records," he added.

According to Simmons, after the expungement process, citizens will be able to honestly disclose that the offense that they were charged with never existed.

"We will expunge offenses that have either been dismissed or are expugnable – this includes felonies," he said.

According to Simmons, there are six felony convictions that are expungable after serving a five-year sentence — possession of a controlled substance, false pretense, grand larceny, malicious mischief and shoplifting.

"Violent crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, man slaughter and simple assault on a law official, receiving stolen property and embezzlement are not expugnable," he continued.

The expungement services will only be available for crimes that were committed in Mississippi.

Warden Ora Starks said she is assisting attorneys in Greenwood with Restoration Day.

"I am taking part in this event because I believe in public service and helping others. I think that it is a wonderful thing. A lot of people do not know that there are things on their record that may have happened 20, 30 or 40 years ago that could possibly hinder them from being hired for a job," said Starks.

"I have spoken with a gentleman who was 60 years of age and he tried to get a job but he was denied because of something that appeared on his record that had occurred when he was 17 – he is still paying the price," she added.

Starks said people should come out and take advantage of the opportunity that is being offered because if an individual meets with an attorney one on one, the fee could be within the thousands.

"This has never been done at this magnitude – various lawyers in Mississippi have gotten together and worked collaborative to help individuals," said Starks.

She said there is going to be a panel set up to aid individuals in filling out the necessary forms and then they will proceed to speak with an attorney.

"It will be a quick process and I am really excited about participating in this event – I really look forward to it," she added.

Starks said that Restoration Day is not for repeat offenders.

For more information or to find the locations of the clinics, please call Simmons at 662-334-1666.