LSC A2J Forum on How Expungements Affect Employment

LSC A2J Forum on How Expungements Affect Employment


[APPLAUSE] It’s my privilege this morning
to moderate our panel on how expungements affect employment. And as I thought
about it, this panel could probably more
aptly be called How Expungement Affect Life. We are fortunately joined today
by four experts on this topic, and I’ll start from my far left. Jessica Beheydt graduated
from Indiana University Moore School of Law in 2019. Jessica is currently completing
her Skadden Fellowship in Bloomington, Indiana, working
for Indiana Legal Services. Her work focuses
on reentry issues including driver’s license
suspensions and expungements. To my immediate left,
the honorable judge Michelle Rick, who presides
over family, criminal, and civil cases as chief judge
protem of the 29th Circuit Court of Michigan. Judge Rick, in addition
to her judicial duties, teaches a class entitled
Access to Justice at the University of
Detroit Mercy School of Law. In 2019, Judge Rick’s
expungement clinic combined her experience as
a judge and law professor to create project access, a
traveling expungement clinic, which in the summer of
2019 brought civil justice relief to more than
100 people in six rural counties in Michigan. Earlier this year, the Michigan
Supreme Court, again showing its insight, recognized
Judge Rick as, quote, a judge who gives back. To my immediate right, Tish
Lee is the managing attorney of the Washtenaw County
Direct Services Office of Michigan Advocacy
Program, one of our hosts here this weekend,
where Tish has practiced for more than 20
years, primarily in the areas of elder housing
benefits and consumer law. Prior to joining MAP, Tish
was public benefits support attorney with the Massachusetts
Law Reform Institute in Boston. To my far right, Herb
Fluker is currently a career advisor at
Michigan Works Southeast and is responsible
for case management of federally-funded programs
such as food assistance, employment training, and
TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Herb also works as a reentry
advisor coach and mentor for those seeking new
employment career opportunities. Prior to joining
Michigan Work Southeast, Herb was a sergeant for
Michigan State Police and served in the US army. A few words a background
before we get to our panel. We in the US
incarcerate 716 people for every 100,000 residents,
more than any other country. The US in 2015 had almost
2.2 million prisoners in adult facilities. That means we held 21%
of the world’s prisoners even while the US only had about
4.4% of the world’s population. The effects of incarceration
create enormous barriers long after release
from incarceration. For example, a 2015 study
showed that compared to those with no
criminal record, individuals with a
one-year-old conviction were 66% less likely to be
offered a job interview, and this condition has a long,
maybe ever-lasting shelf life. Even those with a
10-year-old convictions were 33% less likely
to get a job interview. These types of barriers
magnify the importance and need for expungement. And just so we’re
all on the same page, expungement is the legal
process for sealing or erasing criminal records. These needs are
particularly acute in the low-income populations
that our legal aid programs represented on this
panel and in this room and across the
country work with. In 2018, LSC-funded
legal aid programs closed over 18,000
expungement cases, and these are not just numbers. These are thousands
and thousands of lives whose
opportunities were increased as a result of
these representations. So let’s get to our panel
and let’s start, Judge Rick and Jessica, with some legal
framework for our discussion. Judge Rick, can you tell us
who is eligible for expungement in Michigan, and have there been
changes in those arrangements? The people who are currently
eligible for an expungement in Michigan are
first-time felons so long as they do not have
more than two misdemeanor convictions in addition
to that one felony. They are eligible to have
their felony expunged. If those with no
felony record as long as they have no more than two
misdemeanors are eligible. There are carve outs, of course. Traffic offenses are not
subject to expungement nor are sex offenses, life
or attempt life offenses, or human trafficking offenses. There was a study published
in March of this year by two professors here at
the University of Michigan, JJ Prescott and Sonia Starr. Their work is
entitled Expungement of Criminal Convictions– An Empirical Study. They had access to data
from the state of Michigan and from the state police. And while we do not
know specifically the percentage of people
eligible for expungements, through their work, we know
that approximately 300,000 convictions are added
annually to court dockets and only approximately 2,000
expungement on an annual basis are granted. Jessica, can you
talk about Indiana ? Who’s eligible for
expungement under Indiana law? Thank you and thanks
for having me here. So Indiana’s expungement
law is actually quite liberal and
progressive, which is absolutely fantastic
for all of our clients. Pretty much everyone is
eligible for an expungement unless you have murdered someone
or you are a sex offender. We have waiting
period requirements so doesn’t matter how many
misdemeanors you’ve had, how many felonies you’ve had. It mostly just depends
on the type of crime that you’ve committed so no sex
offenders, not if you committed murder or attempted murder or
anything with dangerous weapon. But everything else is
capable of being expunged. You just have to wait a
certain amount of time. For misdemeanors,
it’s five years. For low-level felonies,
it’s eight years. And then for anything
higher than that. You need to wait
eight to 10 years and then sometimes need
to get special permission from the prosecutor
in written consent. Even with those waiting
periods in mind, prosecutors have the discretion
to waive the waiting periods. And in my experience working
in our 14-county area in South Central Indiana,
prosecutors are quite willing to waive those
waiting period requirements and let people get
early expungements. So some people are
getting expungement two, three years after getting
their misdemeanor conviction, and they’re moving
on in their life shortly thereafter,
which is fantastic. Indiana also allows people to
expunge non-conviction records, so anytime you’ve been arrested
and were charged with a crime but were never
actually convicted, you can have that expunged
and sealed as many times as you like in your entire life. The downside to
Indiana’s expungement law is that for anytime that you’d
like to get a conviction record expunged, you can
only file one petition in your entire lifetime. So that means that if
you got a misdemeanor– five years ago, for example,
you became eligible, you got that expunged, and
tomorrow you went out and were convicted of a new crime, that
crime would be on your record for the rest of your life. If I could just follow
up briefly because that reminds me. In Michigan, it require– our law requires
that an individual wait five years from the latest
by their date of sentence, discharged from probation,
or discharged from parole. While our law is not nearly
as expansive as Indiana’s, I should also mention that right
now pending in both the House and in the Senate,
there are sweeping changes that are bipartisan
being offered in hopes of expanding not only the types
of crimes that may be expunged but also contemplating
automatic expungements for certain offenses and
offering different timetables. There are a number of
proposals on the table, so I don’t want to get too much
into the specifics of that. But we are very
hopeful that there will be expansions
that will open the doors so we see more
than the 6 and 1/2 people in Michigan– 6.5% of people in Michigan
eligible for an expungement actually obtaining
an expungement. I think the– what Judge
Rick has just described and what Chief Justice
McCormack described this morning as reform in these areas
of reentry generally and in this instance
expungement are hopeful. This is not a time for
cooperation and bipartisanship generally across the country,
but in this area on reentry, there is cooperation. There is bipartisanship,
so hopefully we can continue that progress. I’d like to move now to the
process in both Michigan and Indiana for
expungement, so, Tish, do you want to start
off by walking us through the process of
securing an expungement for a client in Michigan? Yes. Thanks, Ron, and
thank you everyone for allowing me to be here. We have a very exciting
expungement initiative here in Washtenaw
County that we’ll talk about a little
bit later, but I wanted to talk to you
now about the process that a person needs to
go through to obtain an expungement in Michigan. To you lawyers out
there, it will probably seem pretty familiar,
pretty straightforward, but I really want
to emphasize here that for a layperson,
for someone who’s not familiar with
court procedures, the process can seem very
complex and very intimidating. And I have to hark back to
the quote from [INAUDIBLE].. It’s like if you’re a layperson
without a lawyer trying to go through this process, it’s
a lot like being on the field without a helmet and pads. It can be mystifying. It can be– you
can get caught up in a lot of technical
requirements that laypersons are
not familiar with. But in addition to that,
there are expenses. There are fees that go along
with pretty much every stage of the process, and
that’s yet another barrier for the low-income folks
that we want to serve in our expungement work. So we’ll talk in a minute
about something positive that we were able to get
together in Washtenaw. So this is the process. So first of all,
you have to find out what’s on your criminal record. And so for a lot of
these folks, these things happen years and years ago,
and they’re not quite sure. And so one of the most
reliable ways, but not entirely reliable, is to go on
to an internet database that the state of
Michigan maintains. It’s called the Internet
Criminal History Access Tool. It’s abbreviated ICHAT, so I’ll
try not to use that too much. But it is an internet
tool for looking up your Michigan criminal history. And that, if you go online,
it’s $10 per search, so that’s your first fee. You look at your record. Sometimes there are
mistakes on the ICHAT. Sometimes there are
mistakes on the record, so that can be a barrier. But if you find according to
the very restrictive criteria that Michigan has
now that you are eligible for an expungement,
then your next step is to get fingerprinted. And so that costs you
some more money usually. You can go to our
County Sheriff’s office. It costs you $15 to get
your fingerprints done. Then you have to get a certified
copy of your criminal record from the court that issued it. That costs $10 plus $1 per page. And then you get
to the application. There’s a standard
application that you fill out. It has to be notarized,
and so you take that– you fill out that application,
you get it notarized, you make five copies
of that, and– your record of
conviction– and then you file that with the court. And different courts
have different procedures for filing, so you have to
figure out what that is. Just a quick question. So say I’ve been– I’ve had charges– three
different charges on three different occasions and
say two different courts. Do I just do what you
just described once, or do I need to
do it three times? You need to do it three
times for each conviction. And so it’s often
multiple courts as well. So once you’ve gotten your
application filed and stamped, you get some copies of it back. You have to serve three parties. You have to serve the
prosecutor in your case for the jurisdiction
in your case. You have to serve
the attorney general, and you have to serve the
Michigan State Police. The Michigan State Police
gets the original application, and they also have to
get the fingerprint card and another $50. So the state police
process that application. They generate your
complete criminal history and then they send
that to the court. Once all of your documents have
been served on those parties, then you have to fill
out the proof of service for the application. And you file that
with the court. And then eventually, hopefully
not too far in the future, you get a hearing
date, and so you need to prepare for your hearing. Essentially you need to be ready
to demonstrate to the court how you’ve turned your life
around since the conviction. You can gather documents. You can bring in
witnesses if you like and essentially just prepare
yourself for that hearing. If you’re lucky enough
to have an attorney, the attorney can
write a brief for you, and we’ve done that in several
of our expungement cases. But the brief will lay out
the standards for expungement and essentially help you
make your case that you have turned your life around. You’ve had no involvement
with the criminal justice system in the meantime
and that there are compelling reasons for
the expungement to be granted. And then you have your hearing. Hopefully, the judge grants
it and signs your order. And then the last and final
step is you have to go back and make sure that the online
record is corrected because it isn’t always corrected
in a timely way, so you need to
follow up on that. But essentially that’s it. Well, that’s easy. [LAUGHTER] Jessica, how did
things work in Indiana? How do they differ if at all? I’m very grateful after
hearing your process. So I’ll just take
you through what would happen after
someone applies to our office [INAUDIBLE]. So firstly obviously they have
to be eligible for services. And then the first thing we
do is a quick online search of their criminal record. We don’t have a fantastic
online database. It’s haphazard at best
if courts have actually sent the information to
what’s called My Case, which is an online service, and
not every county in Indiana uses the same websites. We have two different websites. We have to check. And even then usually the
most consistent information is from 2013 and onwards. And the majority of our clients
have criminal convictions that are much earlier than that. You can imagine 2014
misdemeanor convictions are just now eligible
for expungements if you’ve been waiting
the five-year period. So we do a quick
online search to make sure they don’t have any
pending criminal charges. You cannot file an expungement
in Indiana if you have a pending criminal
charge, which makes sense. And then we dig a little deeper. So if they have any
recent convictions under the five-year
time period, I’ll look and see if I think
that the prosecutor in that particular county,
if I have a good working relationship with them, I might
just call them up really quick and see if they might be willing
to waive the waiting period requirement. Otherwise, if I don’t
see anything online, that’s when everything
gets complicated. So at that point, I
would ask our client to get fingerprinting done. And the fingerprinting is done
through an independent service. They pay $22 to get
their criminal record, and it’s supposed to be a
federal background check. It’s the best thing
that they can get, but it’s never been complete. I have not ever seen
fingerprinting report that has my client’s entire
criminal history on it, so that’s one
piece of the puzzle plus the online search
that I’ve already done plus any information
that my client might remember. So one client in particular
I’ve been helping this week remembered having six felony
convictions from the ’80s. Doesn’t remember what
they were, when they were, and only thing he remembers
was what county it was in. So my next step is calling
the records department. So I have to help my
clients through this process because most of the
court staff aren’t accessible to individual
people, so they don’t know to call the records department. The records department would
be and has complained to me before about how
frustrating it is helping individual people on the phone. They prefer that they deal
with an attorney e-mailing back and forth. It’s just not quite
accessible to our client, so I try and step
in as much as I can and get those records for them. So hopefully at that point,
they have the record. Sometimes they don’t,
so sometimes that’s the best that I can do. So I’ve got
fingerprinting, online, and sometimes records from
the records department. That’s hopefully their
criminal history. Then I have to make
sure that they’ve paid all of their fines. Indiana requires that every
court cost, fine, and fee associated with a
criminal case that you’re asking to be expunged be paid. That is probably the largest
barrier to getting expungements for our clients. I think last week I had to
break the news to someone that they owe $1,800 in
criminal court costs. You can imagine– I can’t afford that,
so I can’t imagine any of my clients coming
up with almost $2,000 to pay off court
costs, especially since the reason that they
don’t have a job is because of this criminal record. So they don’t have a job
because of the criminal record, but they can’t get the
criminal record off of their– excuse me the criminal
conviction off of their record without coming up with $2,000. If nothing is owing and I
have their complete record, then we look and see
what type of expungement they qualify for. In Indiana, there are
discretionary expungements, which is fantastic,
which means that as long as we help them fill
out the paperwork correctly, the judge does not
have a choice in the matter and has to grant
the expungement. And often– and they don’t
have to have a hearing. So oftentimes we help them
fill out the correct paperwork, we help them file
it with the court, and the judge grants
the expungement, never has to have a hearing. And they didn’t really
have a choice in the matter because as long as the record
meets the requirements, it’s granted. It’s less likely that we have
situations where our clients need to have a hearing. Those are the situations with– where bodily harm
was involved and one of their criminal
convictions, and that just is not very likely for us. More often what we
see is upper level felonies with drug
convictions where we need to have a hearing. After that– after
it’s been granted, then we have a long
distribution list. It gets sent to a bunch
of different agencies, and we have to make sure
that they’re actually getting rid of those records as well. Well, it’s two clear takeaways
from both these presentations. One, hard to imagine that
anybody could do this– these processes
without a lawyer, and, two, even if you
had a pro bono lawyer, that pro bono lawyer who is
not a full-time or experienced expungement lawyer would
require a fair bit of training to master these processes
that Tish and Jessica just described. Herb, before joining
Michigan Works, you were a Michigan state
police officer for 23 years. Now you run an
expungement fair that serves as a one-stop
shop for individuals seeking expungement. How did you get
from there to here? Well, Ron, it’s been a
very interesting journey. First and foremost, I
was in one of those silos that the Chief Justice spoke of. I was in law enforcement. And being in law enforcement,
I had a particular view of when crimes were
committed, that I was there to make sure that the
laws were enforced, and that the proper
people were brought in to the criminal
justice system. It’s funny as today I’m indeed
honored to be here today in front of a bunch of
esteemed lawyers and judges. Usually when I sat before
people in your profession, I was always on
the stand in court, so it’s a little different. But once I left that silo
and came into Michigan Works, Michigan Works is concerned
with workforce development. We are there to assist
people in the state who are looking for new
careers or change of career to achieve that goal. Also we’re in the business
of helping businesses to expand their employment
base to retain their workers. One thing that– who my
service center manager Johnny Epps is here today. I’m glad he could come along
with my deputy director Shamar Warren– one thing
that we were faced with were we would
get individuals employment opportunities,
but then they couldn’t get the job
because they had something on their criminal background. And we would talk to employers,
and the service center manager Johnny came to me
and said, Herb, I know you’ve been
in law enforcement. Is there something we can do? I know a little bit
about expungement, so we decided to try
to embark upon having an expungement committee. We both agreed that we
couldn’t do it alone. Michigan Works, we know
a lot about employment. However, we don’t
know everything when it comes to
the law, so we had to go out and recruit partners. Now, we have some
very good partners. We approached the Washtenaw
County Prosecutor’s Office. We approached the Washtenaw
county public defenders, the sheriff’s department,
and all of those individuals to my surprise were like, yes. We’re willing to help,
and we’re going to help. We had Michigan
Legal Help come in, and when Michigan
Legal Help came in, that’s how I was introduced
to this wonderful individual sitting next to me, Tish. Tish came in and said, yep,
Legal Service Corporation and we’re interested, we’re
already doing some things, and we’re willing to help. I’m happy to say that this
is our third year where we’ve had a one-stop expungement
fair here in Washtenaw County. The first year
that we started it, we had 25 individuals
show up to the fair. And when they came to the
fair, 18 of those individuals now have an expungement. So, of course, after
the first year– [APPLAUSE] After the first year,
we were excited. But I know Johnny
over here always says, hey, we can do better. We got to do better. We want more. So our goal was to expand it. So the second year, we were
able to expand the program. More partners came on board. The Department of Health
and Human Services decided that they would
lend their expertise. And as we sat at
committee meetings, everybody came up
with various ideals. I was happy when
people said because one of the things that Jessica
was talking about was costs and Tish was
talking about costs. I was thinking we can’t
afford all of these experts on this expungement committee. But luckily everybody was
saying, hey, no costs. We’re going to do this. The sheriff’s department
came in and said we’ll fingerprint everybody that
comes to the expungement fare for free. So it was something
that just took off. Now the third year– we just
had our third annual expungement fair this past September 14th. Washington Literacy– Dave over
here– is also a valued member. They help us get the word out. We developed what we call
a pre-screening prior to the actual fare. So at the
pre-screenings, we were able to bring individuals in
who we were already seeing and then reach out
to the community and to the county
by advertisement, and more and more people came. This year we were lucky enough
that another partner, United Way of Washtenaw
County, decided that we were eligible for a grant. That grant allowed us to
reach out to individuals and tell them that if you
were eligible for expungement, we would be there from day
one all the way through court, and all of the
fees are paid for. The public defender’s office
and Legal Services Corporation– public defender is
sitting in our mist– Delphia Simpson– they’re
wonderful at digging into those parts of
the criminal history record that may be confusing. They’ve solved
complicated things. One case we dealt
with was a case where there showed two felonies
on the ICHAT criminal history record, but it was
actually only one. It was a person was
given the first felony, and then they were
given conditions where if they fulfilled
the conditions the felony would be removed. But they didn’t
fulfill the conditions. They forgot about it. So now there was they
went back to court, and now there were two
felonies on the record because Michigan
State Police, who are the holders of the
criminal history records, thought that two different
processes had taken place. So it took both Tish
and Delphia to go look, get everything, and
then that person was eligible for an expungement. So it’s been a very
interesting project, and it aligns with
one of the things that we have at Michigan
Works Southeast, our purpose statement, creating connections
for a brighter future. Those connections that
we’ve made with everyone on our executive or
expungement committee is every day working toward
creating a brighter future for those individuals
who have already paid their penance to
society and now are trying to get a new fresh start. Thank you. That’s great. Tish could you briefly tell us
about Legal Services of South Central Michigan’s
expungement work and why you started
to do more of it? Well, yeah, I think
Herb just gave a great narrative
of how we became involved in this project. It was really the
brainchild I think of the great team at Michigan
Works including Johnny and Herb and all their staff. And they were able to bring in
our essential partners really, the public defender,
the prosecutor, and the sheriff’s office. And we also had a
great deal of help from the website– the Michigan
Legal Help website because they actually have a self-help
tool on their website to try to help folks navigate
the expungement process on their own. And so we were brought
in through them and develop this
program and helped get the grant from United Way
to make this past expungement fair extremely successful. The grant covered not only
fees for indigent folks who are trying to
get expungements but also some of the
advertising costs for the fair. So we were able to reach out
with actually some pretty effective digital advertising to
reach a lot more people than we had in the past. But we do a lot of–
well, we’ve done a few expungements I’d say. I was looking at our
records, maybe a couple dozen in the last couple of years. And what we have
noticed actually is these cases turn
out often to be advice only cases because the
large majority of them are not eligible. And so what happens is these
are folks who come to us and say am I eligible
for an expungement. And because the law
is so restrictive now, we have to give them the
sad news that, no, we can’t do an expungement for you. I think– the numbers
I’m seeing are– that roughly maybe a third of
the folks who have come through are eligible. And in those cases where
we’ve assisted folks, we do have a 100% success rate. So I guess the question
is why do we do this work? Why is it so important? And I’ll tell you,
like Herb says, it’s about giving
brighter futures to folks, folks who have paid their
debt and have demonstrated in many ways that
they have moved on and they are looking for greater
opportunities for themselves and their families. So the criminal record is a bar
to all sorts of opportunities, and a lot of them are
related to employment, to being able to give a
better life to your family, and also just contributing
to the economy. For instance, there
might be an entrepreneur who wants to start
a small business but because of an
old criminal record might not be able to
get a loan or might not be able to get a
professional license. And there– those doors
are closed to them until they can get
an expungement. Or, for instance, we
see a lot of clients who are trying to start careers
in health care, in social work, in technology. Some of those
career opportunities are closed to them because of
their past criminal records. These are actually all
real examples of folks that we’ve helped, and once
the records were cleared, they were able to take advantage
of opportunities that weren’t available to them before. And I also wanted to mention
particularly there’s also an effect of past criminal
history on housing opportunities. I know the last panel
talked about housing and how important that was
and the way a landlord tenant record can be a bar to housing. Well, a criminal record can
also be a bar to housing. There are some
landlords who will not rent– that will check
your criminal history, and no matter how
old it is, they will refuse to rent to you. And as we know,
housing stability is often a prerequisite
to financial stability. I think we have a
pretty good picture about how hard it is to
apply for expungement and how important it is. Judge Rick, you’ve
started a program that’s addressing those
difficult to meet needs, a program where you and clinic
staff from Detroit Mercy Law School take students into
rural areas in Michigan. And can you tell us
about that program and the number of people
you’ve been able to serve? Yes, happy to. First of all, I’m
really grateful that two of our students who were part
of that traveling expungement clinic are here today, Katherine
Ganic and Courtney Wood, as well as Professor associate
dean of experiential education Nick Schreck and Rebecca
Simkins Nowak, who is the director of
clinical operations and outreach at Detroit Mercy. Detroit Mercy has been operating
clinical programs since 1965 and is one of the oldest
in the country in terms of offering those experiential
opportunities to serve the poor and those who are otherwise
marginalized and voiceless. And several years ago, I
returned to my alma matter and asked if I could
teach a class, which is entitled Access to Justice. And in that class, we
explore both the criminal and the civil justice gap. And one of the
mandatory readings is the 2017 LSC
Justice Gap Report, which enlightens students as to
those segments of society who are left behind. In addition to
mandatory readings, I have a number of speakers
who come in and talk about the justice gap
from their perspective. And after a few years of hearing
from people like Angela Tripp from Michigan Legal
Help and Jennifer Bentley from the Michigan
State Bar Foundation and Ashley Lowe from
Lake Shore Legal Aid, I had somewhat of an epiphany. And I thought I wonder
if the law school could make an application to
the State Bar foundation and working through courts,
since I’m the sitting judge, offer some expungement
clinics in rural communities. And we’re very grateful to
the State Bar Foundation for affording us a
$20,000 grant, which we utilized this summer. Initially, we were intending
to visit six communities, which are– eight communities. We visited six all in
lower Northern Michigan. And while we were
on the road, we were receiving calls
from communities asking will you come. And one of the inquiries was
made by Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who said
will you please come to the Hall of Justice and
conduct a clinic, which we did conduct earlier this week. But the essence of
the program was when a judge calls, people respond. And so I called stakeholders
like our local sheriffs, our county clerks. I did outreach with
others in the community. For their part, the law
school pre-registered people. We advertised ahead of
time, sending flyers out to the communities
we were serving and through that
pre-registration process were able to pre-screen out
people who might not be eligible either due to
the number of convictions they had or the lack of time
that had passed, et cetera. When people were pre-registered
and came to the clinic, our local law enforcement
donated their services to print people for free. Our clerks donated certified
copies of convictions. We utilized our funding
in part to cover the cost of the internet search
for the criminal backgrounds as we were unable to
secure that free of charge, and again we are very grateful
we had those resources. And within the confines
of a courtroom, people came to court
willingly wanting assistance. And we saw over the summer
the six [INAUDIBLE] clinic, we were able to assist
approximately 50% of the 111 people
who came through. And we like what happens in
Washtenaw County intended a one-stop shop where
we would get individuals as far as we could. And along those lines, those
various notices and copies of applications that had to go
out to the various entities, we utilized our funding not
only to provide the paperwork so that we could make the
copies, but we also had envelopes and stamps. And people knew when they walked
out the door that they just had to show up for their hearing. The judges in the community
were involved as well. When we were in communities
where, for example, I was not the judge, I was
the last station where I could talk
with people and debrief about what to expect
when you next go back to your judge for your hearing. And we reinforced the need to
have letters of recommendation or put together your story for
your judge about the hardship that you faced or the
successes that you’ve had since the time
that you offended. I’d like to thank our
panel for being here today and bringing us [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE]

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