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The first annual Northern Cook County Informational Expungement Expo will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave. The Honorable Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, will give a welcome speech at 10:30 a.m. The Expo is a free event to educate the public on the importance and process of clearing adult and juvenile records.  Participants can talk with attorneys about their records, connect with community organizations, and hear presentations about the challenges that criminal record holders face. 

One such challenge is the misinformation surrounding the expungement process.  According to Naria K. Santa Lucia, Executive Director of the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy in Evanston, misconceptions about criminal records abound.  “People don’t realize that any and all involvement with police or courts—even arrests, juvenile cases, and old cases—stays on their record until they take action to clear it,” she said.  Because involvement with the criminal justice system can severely limit educational, housing, and employment opportunities, many eligible individuals will reap considerable benefits by petitioning to expunge or seal their records. 

Although no records will be expunged or sealed at the Expo, attorneys and attorney-supervised law students will review participants’ criminal histories and help those found eligible to begin the record-clearing process.  For the most accurate attorney advice, guests are strongly encouraged to pre-register by May 13, 2011 and bring their RAP sheet to the Expo.  To pre-register, learn how to obtain a RAP sheet, volunteer at the Expo and more, individuals can visit ExpungementInfoExpo.com or call (888) 543-6410.  

The Northern Cook County Informational Expungement Expo is a collaborative effort of the City of Evanston, the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Rogers Park-based Project NIA, Youth Job Center of Evanston, Inc., Cabrini Green Legal Aid and the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, with support from the Evanston Community Foundation.