Pictured (Clockwise): Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Chief Clerk for New York City Criminal Court Justin Barry, Attorney-in-Charge of Legal Aid’s Manhattan Office Irwin Shaw, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.; Resource Fair at Clean Slate; Hundreds Line Up for Chance to Vacate Summons Warrants
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, and the New York Police Department hosted the first-ever “Clean Slate” event this weekend. More than 700 New Yorkers from all five boroughs came to the Soul Saving Station Church in Harlem to resolve outstanding warrants for summonses ranging from Disorderly Conduct to Unlawful Possession of Marijuana. Legal Aid attorneys screened and gave free legal advice to hundreds of additional individuals whose summonses were not applicable under Clean Slate. No arrests were made at Clean Slate, Manhattan’s first warrant forgiveness event, which also featured a resource fair and giveaways throughout the day.
“I am proud to announce that this Saturday we set more than 700 New Yorkers from all five boroughs on a path toward a ‘clean slate,’” said District Attorney Vance. “No longer will those individuals fear arrest following a police encounter, nor will their job prospects or immigration status be adversely affected. I would like to thank Bishop Robert Winley and his congregation for hosting us at Soul Saving Station Church, as well as the dozens of volunteers and staff from my Office, the Legal Aid Society, and the Office of Court Administration who spent their Saturday helping New Yorkers address these warrants. We hope to work with our partners to host several more Clean Slate events in 2016 and beyond.”
In all, 409 summons warrants were vacated at this event, more than half from New York County, and the oldest case that was resolved dated back to 1998. Additionally, hundreds more received free legal advice on how to resolve ineligible matters, including DMV, TLC, and immigration cases.
Pictured: Bishop Robert Winley of Soul Saving Station Church, which hosted Clean Slate, and DA Vance.
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 partnered 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 cleared at this event were:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Public Consumption of Alcohol
- Public Urination
- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
- Others, including some subway offenses
In addition to the outstanding warrant, underlying summonses were also resolved at this event without fines or other penalties. The presiding Judge issued 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. Legal Aid attorneys were present to screen cases and offer free legal advice, including for those with open misdemeanor or felony warrants that could not be resolved at this event. No arrests were made at Clean Slate.
Pictured: DA Vance with members of the Office of Court Administration at Clean Slate.
Additionally, Clean Slate offered a resource fair with job training, healthcare information, and referral services onsite. Family members were welcome, and free prizes were given away all day. On-site interpreters assisted Spanish, French, and Mandarin speakers, and helped provide translation services for speakers of other languages.