Clinic students in the Reentry/Criminal Records: Legal Theory and Practice course participated in the Criminal Record Expungement/Shielding Clinic on October 1, 2015, in Baltimore. One thousand Marylanders attended the day-long clinic, held at New Psalmist Baptist Church.
More than 60 legal services and volunteer attorneys participated. Clinic students were among the volunteers who analyzed individual criminal records, provided legal advice regarding expungement and shielding, and helped individuals begin the expungement and/or shielding process. Clinic students have also taken on several attendees as clients.
The date of the Clinic coincided with the effective date of Maryland’s new shielding law, which, for the first time, allows criminal convictions for certain non-violent misdemeanor offenses to be removed from public access.
The new law also greatly expands opportunities, through expungement, to remove a range of other types of criminal records from public access. Several organizations in Baltimore co-organized and conducted the Clinic, including the Jobs Opportunities Task Force, the Office of the Public Defender, Maryland Legal Aid, Homeless Persons Representation Project, Maryland Volunteers Lawyers Service and the School of Law’s Reentry/Criminal Records Legal Theory and Practice course, which is taught by Professor Michael Pinard.
In addition to clinic students, several non-clinic students, including first-years, participated in the event. They helped individuals complete intake forms and attended breakout sessions moderated by representatives from grassroots organizations that focused on brainstorming legislative and policy initiatives aimed at reducing criminal record-related obstacles. Several nonelected officials, including Baltimore’s Mayor, attended the Clinic throughout the day.