Having a criminal record is incredibly common. 1 in 3 Americans, and almost half of all children, have a parent with a criminal record. In a digital age, criminal records are easy to access and create huge barriers to safe housing, good jobs, and other opportunity. While most states have a legal process to seal or expunge a record, those petition-based processes are so costly and complicated, that over 90% of those legally eligible to clear their records never make it through the expungement process.
Noella Sudbury, an attorney in Salt Lake City, has been taking steps to change that. In 2019, she worked with a broad coalition of stakeholders to run a campaign that led to the unanimous passage of HB 431, Utah’s Clean Slate law. As a result of this effort, Utah became the second state in the nation to automate the clearing of qualifying misdemeanor records for individuals who meet the criteria and have remained crime free for a set period of time. It is projected that this law will impact the lives of over 200,000 individuals with criminal records across our state.
As the law goes into effect, there will surely be questions from people with records about eligibility, and a need for continued legal support for individuals trying to navigate this new landscape. To ensure the implementation of this law is successful, and this record-clearing work continues, Noella saw the need to create a nonprofit to help people understand their eligibility for clean slate, navigate the process of expungement, and provide financial support to help them pay the non-waivable statutory fees associated with the record-clearing process.
RQN attorney Bruce Olson and attorney Patrick Reimherr played an integral part in helping Noella form this entity and obtain Clean Slate Utah’s 501(c)(3) status. With years of experience in nonprofit law, RQN’s team of lawyers will continue to assist the organization with required legal work pertaining to nonprofit compliance and governance.
“There are parts of the criminal justice system that really aren’t working for people, and this is one of them. Everybody deserves a second shot, and I think we’re better off when people can achieve their potential rather than being held back.” – Patrick Reimherr
All people make mistakes, but when someone turns their life around, they deserve a second chance. Clean Slate Utah will work to help justice-involved individuals determine their eligibility for expungement and provide legal and financial support to help eligible individuals clear their records. RQN is proud to provide support to an organization that works to better the community for all.
For a short video about Utah’s Clean Slate law, click here.