Post-Conviction Relief Practice

Criminal Record Expungement 22
Clinic students Jolie Huang, Zachary Glubiak, John Hazinski, David Chen, and Bo Uuganbayar are pictured outside the Hall of Justice in San Jose after successfully representing their clients in court on expungement, felony reduction, and early termination of probation motions. In some cases, students were successful getting court fees and fines waived by the court.

Helping Clients Move Beyond Their Convictions

Our criminal record expungement practice focuses on post-conviction relief for individuals seeking to establish meaningful reintegration after contact with the criminal justice system. The fallout of criminal convictions can result in severe collateral consequences in various contexts including employment, housing, and student loans. Important civil and political rights are implicated for people with convictions. For example, some states permanently disenfranchise people with conviction histories, further pushing people to the margins of society.

California’s record expungement statutes allow people to petition the court for dismissal of their past convictions. Once a person has successfully dismissed their record, they are generally released from “all penalties and disabilities” associated with their convictions, and they can answer “no” on most private job applications inquiring about conviction history.

CLC students handle a variety of post-conviction motions including expungements, felony reductions, early termination of probation, and Certificates of Rehabilitation. CLC students represent clients in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Students develop a case plan, research their client’s eligibility for various expungement remedies, draft motions and appear in court on behalf of their clients. Students report feeling rewarded and fulfilled working to expunge their clients’ convictions because of the stakes involved. Expungements have the potential to provide CLC clients with a fresh start, a clean slate, and a meaningful opportunity to improve work and professional licensing prospects. Several clients have also commented on the psychological liberation that flows from expunging their record. People have described having “a cloud lifted” or “a heavy burden” alleviated after working with CLC to clear up their record.

Our hope is to help ameliorate the collateral consequences of convictions so that people can fully engage in their communities and have a fair chance of reentering society.

Post-Conviction Relief Work at CLC

The Context: Re-entry Issues in the Bay Area and Beyond

Criminal Record Expungement 13

East Palo Alto mural by MMAP (Mural Music and Arts Project)

Learn more about California's Proposition 47. The cutting edge law is designed to reduce specified non-violent, low-level felonies to misdemeanors. Proposition 47 enables resentencing and reclassification of felony convictions, which means it impacts thousands of people throughout the State currently serving jail and prison sentences, as well as people whose convictions are firmly rooted in the past.

Californians for Safety and Justice

Discover more about the impacts of having a criminal conviction. The Sentencing Project highlights various collateral consequences of convictions, including voter disenfranchisement laws. The Sentencing Project tracks incarceration rates, monitors national sentencing policies, and highlights the racial disparities found in America's criminal justice system.

The Sentencing Project