Pictured: NYPD Deputy Chief Frank Vega, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Councilmember Margaret Chin, Supervising Judge Tamiko A. Amaker, and Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Manhattan office Irwin Shaw Announce “Clean Slate.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the New York Police Department, the Office of Court Administration, and the Legal Aid Society today announced “Clean Slate,” an upcoming warrant forgiveness event where New Yorkers with open summons warrants for qualifying crimes can have them cleared from their record, without fear of arrest. Clean Slate will take place this Saturday, November 21, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Soul Saving Station Church on the corner of West 124th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. District Attorney Vance was joined at this morning’s announcement in Harlem by Supervising Judge Tamiko A. Amaker, NYPD Deputy Chief Frank Vega, Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Manhattan office Irwin Shaw, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat, New York State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, and New York City Councilmembers Ydanis Rodriguez, Margaret Chin, and Ben Kallos.
“We hope to help hundreds of New Yorkers get a clean slate this Saturday by clearing outstanding summons warrants from their records,” said District Attorney Vance. “Open warrants can weigh heavily on those who carry them due to the constant risk of arrest following a police encounter. Even for minor violations like littering or drinking in public, open warrants can affect the warrant holder’s immigration status, and even his or her ability to get a job or enlist in the armed forces. I urge anyone with an open summons warrant to join us at Clean Slate this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Soul Saving Station Church in Harlem. Please help us spread the word by telling your community members, your family and friends, and your colleagues and classmates, about this opportunity for a fresh start.”
Pictured: Members of the Manhattan DA’s Office at the “Clean Slate” Announcement.
Supervising Judge Tamiko A. Amaker said at the press conference: “We’re equipped and ready to resolve hundreds of summons cases over the course of just a few hours this Saturday. It has been a daunting task that required many, many hours of planning and hard work, but in the end it’s worth it, in order to hopefully give hundreds of New Yorkers the opportunity to start afresh and have a clean slate.”
NYPD Deputy Chief Frank Vega said at the press conference: “Clean Slate, it’s appropriately titled. People have made mistakes over the years – minor infractions that they either forgot about, neglected to answer correctly, or didn’t know they had to answer. This offers an opportunity to start afresh, to start anew, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Irwin Shaw, Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Manhattan office said at the press conference: “The Legal Aid Society is extremely pleased that we were asked to co-sponsor and co-coordinate this event. It is our hope that this is the first of many such programs that will be a positive influence on the people that come to the Soul Station Saving Church on Saturday.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said at the press conference: “Our criminal justice system should be a foundation that stabilizes our communities, not an anchor that weighs us down. The Clean Slate warrant forgiveness program is a critical step in rebuilding police and community relations.”
New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat said: “The Clean Slate program is a great opportunity for people with outstanding warrants for minor offenses to be forgiven for not addressing them sooner. I commend District Attorney Vance for bringing this program to Manhattan. I hope to see more events like this around the City so members of our communities are not burdened by these warrants.”
New York State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares said at the press conference: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of DA Vance for this initiative. I think that this is an example of what it takes in bringing the entire village and its leadership together to address a problem that we know has existed and has destroyed not only many young lives but also families along the way.”
New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez said: “Right now thousands of New Yorkers are under threat of arrest because of outstanding warrants due to minor charges like fare bearing or public urination. These summons are minor, but the arrest warrant has significant if not life changing impacts on these peoples’ lives. With the Clean Slate program, we have the opportunity to open a new chapter in these individuals’ lives by letting them close the old. I commend the Legal Aid Society, our clergy and especially Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance for his leadership on this issue and his dedication to uplifting communities through a fair and just judicial process.”
New York City Councilmember Margaret Chin said: “Everyone makes mistakes. That is why it is incredibly important for New Yorkers with open warrants to come forward now and take advantage of this opportunity to clear their criminal record so that a chance encounter with a police officer does not result in incarceration and fines. I applaud District Attorney Vance for acknowledging the importance of cleaning the slate for those looking to live their lives without the constant fear these outstanding warrants bring.”
New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos said: “I hope New Yorkers take advantage of this important opportunity to resolve warrants, get a clean slate, and move on with their lives. I would like to thank District Attorney Vance for his leadership on this issue, as well as the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, and the NYPD for making Clean Slate possible.”
In an effort to reduce unnecessary arrests for low-level summons warrants, and to give those with open summons warrants a fresh start, District Attorney Vance is partnering with the Office of Court Administration, the NYPD, and the Legal Aid Society to host Clean Slate, a one-day warrant forgiveness event. Among the summons warrants that can be cleared at this event include:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Public Consumption of Alcohol
- Public Urination
- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
- Others, including some subway offenses
In addition to the outstanding warrant, the underlying summons can also be resolved at this event without fines or other penalties. The presiding Judge will issue Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissal, or ACDs, which require the recipient to avoid new arrests for six months, before the dismissal and sealing of his or her case. Warrants for felony or misdemeanor charges cannot be resolved at Clean Slate, however Legal Aid attorneys will be present to offer free legal advice in an effort to help resolve their case. Additionally, Clean Slate will offer a resource fair with job training, healthcare information, and referral services onsite.
Family members are welcome, and free prizes will be given away all day. Open summons warrants from any of the five boroughs can be resolved at this event, regardless of where an individual lives or their immigration status. There will be interpreters available onsite to assist Spanish, French, and Mandarin speakers, and translation services for other languages will also be available. Those wishing to clear open summons warrants must bring a photo ID, but it is not necessary to bring the original summons.
For more information about Clean Slate and qualifying offenses, call 212-335-3310.