County of Marin - News Releases - Free Expungement Clinic

For Immediate Release
June 17, 2016

Criminal Record Expungement Clinic on June 24

Learn how to get a ‘clean slate’ with free legal assistance

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Public Defender’s Office is partnering with the nonprofit OneJustice on June 24 to offer a free “clean slate” legal clinic for residents of Marin County and surrounding areas to help them learn how to clear their criminal records.

Public Defender Jose Varela holds up a sheet of paper at a public meeting.Public Defender Jose Varela and his staff are working to help people through the expungement process.
Individuals will get a chance to meet one-on-one with volunteer attorneys at the office of the Hannah Project, 170 Donahue Street, in Marin City between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The attorneys will guide visitors through the expungement process and Proposition 47 reductions. Prop 47, approved by voters in November 2014, reduced the classification of most non-serious and non-violent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. The crimes are related to property values of less than $950 or the personal use of most illegal drugs.

Deborah Lewis, a Deputy Public Defender, is leading the effort to have all eligible people apply for resentencing. She said the great majority of those who have sought resentencing in Marin have had their sentences reduced to misdemeanors.

“Our office has worked diligently over the last 18 months to identify clients with qualifying Prop 47 charges and has sought misdemeanor reductions on their behalf,” she said. “We also connect clients to services in other counties for those with out-of-county qualifying charges.”

Appointments are limited and must be made in advance. Call 415-834-0100, extension 316.

OneJustice, which has offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, is dedicated to removing barriers to justice wherever they are most prevalent, sometimes with free legal help, to end despair and restore hope. Its Justice Bus Project takes teams of volunteer attorneys and law students from urban areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians. The clinics are designed to provide life-changing legal assistance to low-income veterans, vulnerable seniors, children with disabilities, low-wage workers, immigrant youth, and families.

As part of the state’s effort to realign criminal justice sentencing, Proposition 47 gives people with prior qualifying felonies the opportunity to have those felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors. Here are the particulars:

  • A person can petition to be resentenced under Proposition 47 after the proposition’s effective date of November 5, 2014.
  • The resentencing procedure applies to a person currently on probation.
  • The resentencing procedure applies to juvenile delinquency cases and other cases that have been previously expunged as felonies.
  • A court can refuse to resentence an otherwise qualified person if the court finds that the person presents a future likelihood to commit a serious or violent felony, sometimes referred to as a “superstrike.”
  • The burden of proof is on the person seeking to be resentenced to prove their eligibility for such relief.

In addition to the June 24 clinic, the Office of the Marin County Public Defender is available to assist people seeking Proposition 47 reductions and who financially qualify for the public defender. Having a case reduced to a misdemeanor can help people re-enter the job market, continue their education or find suitable housing. The Public Defender staff seeks to promote positive reintegration into the community for its clients. The office is at the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 139, in San Rafael. Learn more at


Jose Varela
Public Defender
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 139
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6321
Email: Jose Varela
Public Defender website