The Criminal Defense and Racial Justice Clinic (CDRJC) students have worked on numerous legal issues disproportionately impacting DC’s Black residents, ranging from misdemeanor offenses to parole cases, clemency petitions, and motions to seal criminal records. Their commitment to thorough investigation and case preparation has resulted in the dismissal of multiple misdemeanor cases, offering their clients a fresh start.
In a collaborative effort with the Youth Justice Clinic and the Community Defender Division of the DC Public Defender Service, CDRJC students hosted an expungement workshop in the spring of 2023 for Washington, DC residents seeking to seal their criminal records. This event provided information and assistance to individuals looking to overcome the obstacles posed by their prior criminal records.
Following the workshop, CDRJC students continued to support their clients by preparing written record sealing motions to be filed in court. This step toward achieving a clean slate ensures that their clients have the opportunity to reintegrate into society with a reduced burden from past mistakes.
One particular success story emerged when CDRJC students welcomed its first parole client home in March 2023. The client, a Black man in his seventies, had spent decades in prison and faced many health challenges in the past year. Students played a vital role in assisting this client in preparing a release plan critical to his successful reentry into the community.
CDRJC students are not only achieving positive outcomes in court but also fostering the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals into society, promoting a sense of justice and compassion. The Criminal Defense and Racial Justice Clinic will continue its mission to advance racial justice by supporting those seeking to rebuild their lives after involvement in the criminal legal system.