Clinics Free, Open to Public
SPOKANE, Wash. – Unlike many states, juvenile records in the state of Washington do not automatically seal when a person turns age 18 – posing possible barriers to employment, housing, and higher education opportunities in adulthood.* Gonzaga University School of Law students will offer free public clinics to help community members seal their juvenile records so they don’t appear in criminal history checks and complicate their lives.
More than 3,000 juvenile arrests were made in Spokane County in 2010 and 2011 – all creating records. The Gonzaga Law School students will host three Saturday drop-in clinics this academic year (the first was held in September). Clinics are set for Nov. 10, Feb. 2 (2013), and April 6 (2013) from from 10 a.m. to noon at Gonzaga Law School (721 N. Cincinnati St.); appointments are not required.
Staffed by law students and volunteer attorneys, the clinics will help people seal their juvenile records if they are eligible to be sealed. Individuals with a history of serious crimes – or criminal history in other states – may not be eligible.
“As law students, we are excited to use our skills to help the Spokane community – especially when so many people are looking for jobs or affordable housing,” says Michele Fukawa, a third-year GU law student helping with the clinics.
To qualify for juvenile recording sealing, an individual must meet three criteria:
- For a juvenile misdemeanor, class C or class B felony, individuals must have been released from confinement at least two years ago or they must have completed a diversion or deferred disposition. For class A felonies, individuals must have been released from confinement at least five years ago.
- Individuals must have remained crime-free since their last conviction.
- Individuals must owe no court-ordered fines or fees.
For more information, please contact the Juvenile Record Sealing Clinic at (509) 469-9491 or via email.
*Further information can be found in the Washington State Joint Legislative Task Force on Juvenile Record Sealing (Sept. 28, 2011) and the Final Joint Legislative Task Force on Sealing Juvenile Records Report to the Legislature (January 2012).