Ann Arbor uses marijuana tax revenue to offer free expungement of criminal records
ANN ARBOR, MI — Residents of Ann Arbor who have been convicted of crimes have the option of expunging their records, and city officials say it can be done for free in five easy steps.
The city is promoting a new erasure program to remove old felony records through a partnership between the Ann Arbor 15th District Court and the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office.
“It’s 100% free to the participant,” Assistant City Attorney Arianne Slay said.
Along with another new program that diverted more than 180 people from the criminal justice system, the Free Expungement Program began this fiscal year as a two-year pilot project using new marijuana tax revenue. He’s already helped about 50 or more people, and several more are coming in every week, Slay said.
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The process begins by making an appointment with probation supervisor Joe Royal by calling 734-794-6761 ext. 47535 and do a quick interview, then fill out an application and have her fingerprinted by the Ann Arbor Police Department.
An application package will be sent to the Michigan State Police, the sentencing court, the Crown and the Attorney General, and the case will be assigned to an attorney.
“The Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office has agreed to review the records and request a court date from the court of original jurisdiction. They will also distribute the records to the appropriate parties,” the city’s website says, explaining the process.
The final step is a court hearing, with the public defender’s office providing representation. Plaintiffs may be called upon by the judge to explain what has happened since their conviction and how expunged records will benefit them.
Although there are normally several fees associated with the process, the New Town program is free from start to finish. It’s not a document, but a “helping hand,” Slay said.
“If you’ve been convicted once, that doesn’t mean you should have to live with the repercussions of that forever,” she said, noting that criminal records can be barriers to employment and careers. education and that some people are burned for decades.
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The program is part of the city’s criminal justice reform efforts, and since people of color have been disproportionately convicted, it’s also about racial justice, Slay said.
Starting this month, people can also have their drunk driving records expunged, opening up the process to a whole new group of people, Slay said.
To learn more about the process and eligibility requirements, visit the city’s website.
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