A volunteer works with a client at the expungement clinic Nov. 5

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University


Expungement clinic offers free legal counsel in East Baltimore

Volunteers from Johns Hopkins and its partners generated 415 petitions for expungement for nearly 300 clients at a resource clinic Nov. 5

Johns Hopkins co-hosted its seventh expungement clinic and resource fair on Sunday in the Turner Concourse on the East Baltimore campus. Held in partnership with Maryland Legal Aid, this biannual event gives individuals the opportunity to receive free legal counsel and potentially remove certain criminal charges and other offenses from their public records.

Previous charges that show up on background checks can significantly inhibit individuals' ability to be hired, find housing, secure a loan, or go to school. Removing those charges from public inspection gives people a chance to improve their situations, but expungement fees can be costly.

This year's event came on the heels of the REDEEM Act's passage in Maryland; the legislation reduces the wait time for nonviolent convictions' expungements by several years, meaning more people then were eligible for Sunday's event than ever before.

During the clinic, 263 people requested legal assistance, resulting in 415 petitions completed for expungement. Attendees also were able to visit an employment resource fair staffed by organizations including United Way, Turnaround Tuesday, and Out for Justice. The Mayor's Office of Employment and Development, Department of Transportation, Job Opportunities Task Force, and HopkinsLocal also attended to connect individuals with job opportunities.

Staff from the Johns Hopkins COVID vaccination team, the Johns Hopkins HEAT (Health Education and Training) Corps, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine were also onsite to provide health information and screenings to attendees.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for people to literally change their lives," said Maria Harris Tildon, vice president of government, community, and economic partnerships for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, in an interview with Fox 45 News.

Since the clinic launched in 2020, a total of 2,357 cases have been filed over the three-year period, saving clients $33,090 in legal fees.

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