Collin County launches initiative to help applicants clear criminal records
From left: Marc Payne and Rocio Gosewehr with the Collin County chapter of the NAACP; Vykim Le with the Collin County district attorney's office; Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis; June Jenkins, president of the Collin County chapter of the NAACP; Danielle Agee with the Collin County chapter of the NAACP; and Northwest Texas aide Kamisha Dumas attended an event promoting the expunction program. (Courtesy Collin County District Attorney)
“We are thrilled to help people erase their criminal record and clear a path to more opportunity,” District Attorney Greg Willis said in a statement. “Whether seeking employment, education, housing, or military service, we know this initiative will help qualifying individuals do just that.”
This initiative is the first of its kind in Collin County and is free for those eligible, according to a county news release. Those who are eligible to have their records expunged include those who have been found not guilty or those who have successfully completed a district attorney diversion program.
A general statement of support was issued by the police chiefs in Plano, McKinney, Frisco and Allen.
“We firmly support DA Willis’ Expunction Initiative. Removing unnecessary limitations of a criminal record helps individuals thrive and strengthens our ability to protect and serve our communities,” the statement said.
As of April 24, nearly 200 people had completed the online screening form. Those who qualify are paired with a volunteer attorney. Attorneys working for the program pro bono and partner agencies referring applicants are crucial to the program, Collin County Community Engagement Director Peggy Grawehr said.
“Many individuals are not aware that they qualify for an expunction and the collective efforts of our community are key to making this program more widely available,” she said in an email. “The program's success relies on the organizations and individuals who are volunteering and getting involved.”
Individuals who want to know if they are eligible must complete the screening form at www.collincountyda.com/expunction2021 by April 30. A celebration event will be held later this summer for applicants who successfully complete the program, the county release stated.