I’m writing to remind you that I am hosting with Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown a Second Chance Adult and Juvenile Expungement and Sealing Summit on Saturday, October 7th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Gale School, 1631 W. Jonquil.
I’m sponsoring this summit because I’m a big believer in second chances. If you made some mistakes earlier in your life, paid your debt to society, and have since been a law-abiding member of our community, you deserve a chance to live your life to its full potential.
In short, my Expungement Summit is an opportunity for law abiding individuals to receive a second chance and remove a major impediment to obtaining a job and other opportunities to become a productive member of society.
Under Illinois law, qualified individuals may apply to “expunge” or “seal” certain criminal cases, thereby removing them from their criminal history records. Individuals often pursue expungement or sealing of their records to obtain a job, protect a current job, help them obtain certain licenses or just eliminate the potentially damaging effects of a criminal history record.
New law allows more felonies to be sealed
This summit is especially timely because a new law, effective last August, greatly expands the number of felonies eligible sealing. Before the new law, only nine felony convictions were eligible for sealing.
Now, all misdemeanor convictions and almost all felony convictions are eligible for relief. The only exceptions are: (1) DUIs and reckless driving, (2) animal crimes, (3) sex offenses (exception prostitution and misdemeanor public indecency), and (4) domestic battery and violations of orders of protection. Those felony convicitions remain ineligible for sealing.
At the summit, volunteer attorneys from Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) will assist individuals in filling out applications for petitions for expungement and sealing and address any other legal concerns. The petitions will be filed with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and submitted to the arresting agencies and prosecutors for review. A Circuit Court judge ultimately determines whether to grant an application.
To expedite the preparation and filing of the petition, individuals should bring to the Summit their “rap sheet,” i.e., criminal history. For Chicago cases, individuals may obtain their rap sheet by requesting a “Right to Access and Review” at the Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan. The Police Department charges $16 for obtaining a rap sheet.
It takes several days for the Chicago Police Department to process the request. In order to obtain your rap sheet in time for the summit, you should fill out an application at the Police Headquarters no later than this Monday, October 2nd.
For suburban Cook County cases, individuals should contact the suburban community where the arrest(s) occurred.
Rap sheets may be submitted to the Howard Area Employment Resource Center, 7637 N. Paulina, prior to the event for advance review by CGLA.
If you do not qualify for expungement, you are invited to attend an informational workshop conducted by Cabrini Green Legal Aid to learn about Certificates of Good Conduct and Relief from Disabilities, as well as how to apply for a letter of clemency and/or pardon from the Governor.
The Howard Area Community Center Adult Education and Employment Services and the Safer Foundation will provide information on employment, job training, housing, voter registration and other services for ex-offenders.
For additional information about the Expungement Summit, please call my ward service office at 773-338-5796 or email my staff assistant Wayne Frazier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d like to thank my co-sponsors for their help in organizing the event: Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Howard Area Community Center Adult Education and Employment Services, the Safer Foundation, Gale School, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, State Senator Heather Steans, and State Representative Kelly Cassidy.