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06.19.2019 Pee Dee Expungement Training Clinic/CLE

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Criminal records can prevent a person from obtaining employment, housing, professional licenses, financial assistance (including public benefits, school loans, other types of loans, grants, and scholarships). It is not just the person with the conviction who suffers these consequences - it necessarily has an impact on their families (whose well-being may be affected by inability of the offender to provide for the family's basic needs, including adequate housing and food) and the community (if those with records can find jobs, it increases tax revenues and decreases public assistance payments). South Carolina law provides for the expungement of dismissed charges and eligible convictions, but the law and the process can be complicated for a layperson to work through on their own. SCWLA is undertaking a series of Expungement Clinics this year to use our members’ legal skills to help eligible persons expunge their records.

First though, to ensure that the SCWLA members who participate understand expungement law and procedure, SCWLA will, through the end of August, conduct 1.5 – 2 hour CLE programs in each of our Regions. The trainings will be offered free to SCWLA members and interested local attorneys in return for their participation in one of the regional expungement clinics to be held during the last four months of the year or, if they are unable to participate in a clinic, to assist, at no charge, one person referred by a local legal aid program complete the paperwork necessary to expunge their criminal records. During the clinics, volunteer attorneys will review persons’ criminal records and prepare expungement applications for the persons to file; it is hoped that representatives from the local Solicitor’s Office will be present to answer questions and representatives from the local legal services office will be present to provide additional legal services if necessary.

In order to accomplish the goals of this project, SCWLA is reaching out to the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, local legal services offices, the Solicitors’ Offices, and the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program.