On April 21st, 10th Judicial District judges and court clerks with the help of Vet-to-Vet, the UT Legal Clinic, pro bono attorneys, and community volunteers will host its first ever Saturday Expungement Clinic at the First Baptist Church of Madisonville from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Saturday Expungement Clinic will help people review their criminal records and determine whether charges can be removed and old court costs waived. Any resident of Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk Counties with criminal charges in these counties can be eligible for free legal help. But the Saturday Clinic requires pre-registration by calling the UT Legal Clinic Expungement Hotline at 865-974-6775 by Tuesday, April 10th. Download 10th Judicial District Expungement Flyer
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“We are taking court to the people to give our community members with criminal records a second chance,” explains General Sessions Judge Dwaine “Benjy” Thomas. Judge Thomas is hosting the event with Criminal Court Judge Sandra Donaghey and Court Clerk Marty Cook.
The University of Tennessee Legal Clinic student attorneys staff the Expungement Hotline and can offer preliminary advice when residents preregister with their name, phone number, and date of birth.
Saturday Expungement Clinics are happening throughout the state to help people understand Tennessee’s expungement statute. “We have organized Saturday Clinics in Knoxville and Rutledge with great success, expunging hundreds of charges from criminal records. It is time to bring these free legal services to the residents of Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk Counties,” states UT Law Professor Joy Radice who started the UT Expungement Clinic four years ago. UT Law students will be assisted by local pro bono attorneys, volunteers from the Knoxville Bar Association, and the support of the Tennessee Faith and Justice Alliance.
The Tennessee Expungement statute allows people with criminal records to file a petition to expunge all dismissed charges for free after the charge is dismissed and court costs are paid, and to file a motion to expunge up to two eligible low-level convictions after a five year waiting period. But reading a criminal record and determining if charges and convictions are eligible is not easy.
“We have so many people in this community, especially veterans, who want to improve their lives, but dismissed cases and old, low-level convictions are holding them back,” explains Vet to Vet Tennessee President Ed Junod who has been a driving force behind this event. “They want better jobs to support their families and to live in better housing situations. This Saturday Expungement Clinic can make a real difference in people’s lives.”
If you think that you might be eligible for this free legal assistance, call the UT Clinic hotline at 865-974-6775 and ask for help by the pre-registration deadline of April 10th.
For more information about the event, call Professor Joy Radice at 865-974-6773 or Ed Junod at 865-850-8376.