The following blog post by Cecelia Chavez is part of an ongoing series of ACJP participants writing about observing court sessions. Cecelia works with the ACJP in East San Jose, and is currently a Criminal Justice Studies Major at San Jose State.
The Record Clearance Project was a very interesting court session to observe. The purpose of this program was for individuals who had felony convictions have the opportunity to get their records cleared or reduce their felony convictions to misdemeanors. It was an opportunity given to the defendants to plea their situation in front of Judge Arroyo. Each defendant explained the circumstance in which they were at the time they received the felony conviction and how they have moved on and bettered their lives. It was important for these individuals to have their records cleared because with a felony conviction in their records they are limited in the job industry. Many jobs now ask in their applications whether or not the person applying has been ever convicted of a felony, although it should not influence the employers’ decision it greatly does. With the records cleared or charges reduced each individual has a wider range of job opportunities and a second chance for a better life. Continue reading