Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office Fresh Start Clinic
Imagine spending your adult life, regretting crimes that you committed as a teenager or young adult. Imagine applying for jobs that you truly want, being tested, passing the tests, going to interviews over and over and all of that going well, only to get a call or an email advising you that “because of your record,” we cannot hire you. Imagine 10 years or 20 years or 30 years of that. We all make mistakes at some point in our lives. We all make poor choices that perhaps we regret.
Now, imagine that you could go to a clinic. A clinic where there is no judgment, nothing to fear.
As you get the courage to walk into the clinic to finally, hopefully, get rid of this gnawing dog that you have been carrying around for years cleared off of your record. You look around and realize, there are others like you that are trying to better their lives. You find that each and every person that you will come in contact with over the next few hours is there to help you.
That is what coming to our Fresh Start Clinic is like.
From the minute a person comes into our clinic, we will do everything we possibly can to assist, assure, calm, and direct folks to finally get rid of that gnawing dog they have been dragging around. The past mistakes that have prohibited them from good jobs, or any job for that matter, prohibited them from good housing, prohibited them from higher education.
We are there to help. That is the core of the Hamilton County, Ohio Fresh Start Clinic.
Step 1: Go to the Hamilton County Justice Center. Attain a copy of your Police Record. Cost $5.00 cash
Step 2: Come to the Clinic.
Step 3: Have your record reviewed by a panel of Attorneys. If it appears that you have cases that are potentially eligible to expunge …next step.
Step 4: Meet with Qualifiers. Disclose your income in order to
meet the standards set to qualify as an individual who is deemed “Indigent”.
Step 5: Documents, criminal history, Hamilton County police record, and Cincinnati Police records checked by Appellate Director, Attorney Christine Jones.
Step 6: Client meets with an Application Preparation Technician.
Step 7: All documents to Paralegal, checked for the 3rd time.
Step 8: Paralegal, preps all documentation, copying, filing with Hamilton County Municipal Expungement Clerk and Hamilton County Common Pleas Expungement Clerk.
Step 9: Paralegal sends out Court Notices with instructions of how to proceed in Court. Calls clients if necessary.
Step 10: If an Attorney is needed to accompany the client, Paralegal makes sure Attorney has all necessary paperwork and advises the client which Attorney will be present with them.
It is important to note something here that perhaps folks do not think about. Keep in mind the last time this client was in Court was possibly one of the most fearful days of their life. That fear alone of appearing back in front of a Judge is enough to scare a person to the point that they allow this to follow them around their entire lives.
Coming to our Fresh Start Clinic takes bravery, and is the first step in facing that fear. We are grateful and thankful that we can help these folks.
Seeing a person face their fears, coming through our Clinic, sometimes in tears, and then reach a point where they can finally get on with their lives is truly rewarding. Not only for the client, but for those of us that work collaboratively to make our Fresh Start Clinic a success.
Since the inception of the Hamilton County Fresh Start Clinic in October 2013, we have assisted well over 2,000 people.
(Take into account these stats were not monitored until: 3/19/2014)
Total Clients who came in: 1856
Total Interviews: 1504
Not Eligible Due to Income: 416
Number of Eligible Clients: 1088
Total Cases Applications Filed: 12,393
Number of cases Not Eligible: 7,219
Number of cases Eligible: 5,074
Eligible cases Expunged as of 4/11/2016: 2,910