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Ottawa County hosting 2nd expungement clinic this year


Officials say erasing criminal convictions gives many a 'fresh start'

The Ottawa County Public Defender’s Office is offering an expungement clinic for those wishing to have a criminal conviction set aside.

The expungement clinic comes after lawmakers in Lansing last year voted in favor of allowing some crimes to be removed from one’s permanent record after a period of time.

Not all crimes apply, however, the new law does include the expungement of up to three felonies, one DUI, and all misdemeanors.

It’s the second time the Ottawa County Public Defender’s office is hosting such a clinic, as officials say, the first clinic in April was a success, with 61 residents beginning the process of expunging their criminal convictions.

Patrick Kolehouse is an Assistant Public Defender in Ottawa County. He says for some, a criminal conviction is like being shackled to your past mistakes forever.

“You pay a penalty for the crime but you keep paying for that crime the rest of your whole damn life," Kolehouse said.

"Every time you apply for a job you have to put down, that ‘yes’ I have been convicted of a crime, and that means people get turned down all the time for work they are qualified for, that they would be good at, that would contribute to the overall well-being of the at county.”

Officials say, however, it is a process, and that the criminal record will not be cleared at the event, as the expungement process can take a few months.

Registration is required as well. The expungement clinic takes place October 28 12-4pm in Holland.

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