Expungement clinic in Germantown offers guidance to job seekers

     Yvelisse Pelotte and Michael Hollander of Community Legal Services, and Dayne Cofer, a constituent services representative for Councilwoman Cindy Bass' office, at Thursday night's expungement clinic. (Jimmy Viola/for NewsWorks)

    Yvelisse Pelotte and Michael Hollander of Community Legal Services, and Dayne Cofer, a constituent services representative for Councilwoman Cindy Bass' office, at Thursday night's expungement clinic. (Jimmy Viola/for NewsWorks)

    About 25 people gathered at East Germantown’s Lonnie Young Recreation Center on Thursday night for the second annual expungement clinic sponsored by City Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Community Legal Services.

    Staff attorneys Michael Hollander and Yvelisse Pelotte of CLS, a non-profit which provides legal council and representation to low-income Philadelphia residents, led a discussion detailing the expungement process.

    “In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if you have been charged but not convicted, you are eligible to have your record expunged,” read a notice for the session. “People who have been free of arrest or prosecution for at least five years following a summary conviction are also eligible for expungement.”

    What they spoke about

    The ultimate aim of expungement is increasing employment prospects for people with judicial records within Bass’ eighth district.

    Certain arrest records could be decades old, but still show up on criminal background checks for those seeking employment.

    “The questions we get are ‘What can I do to remove this on my record?'” said Hollander, who works for the organization’s employment unit.

    He said the fines and costs of court and probation can be another obstacle for people to navigate.

    “Sometimes people don’t know about them, like how you are being charged for probation,” Hollander said. “You can get on a payment plan.”

    Last year’s clinic drew 200 attendees. All but nine of them have since had their records expunged, according to Dayne Cofer, constituent services representative for Bass.

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