Clinic Works to Expunge Oregon Juvenile Records Across Oregon
Lewis & Clark Law School’s Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) has partnered with Youth, Rights, & Justice (YRJ) to offer increased access to expungement for individuals with juvenile records in Oregon.
When youth are referred to juvenile courts, their names are entered into the court record. This record remains even if the case is dismissed or not heard, and can be an impossible obstacle later in life when securing housing and jobs.
Now there is free legal help available to those who want to expunge their juvenile record. A free juvenile record expunction clinic opened last summer to serve residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, operated by the Portland nonprofit law firm Youth, Rights & Justice (YRJ). Beginning in 2022, CJRC is partnering with YRJ to expand access to the clinic for all Oregon youth statewide.
The expungement clinic offers youth an opportunity to seal records created from contact with law enforcement or the juvenile court, providing a clean slate and effectively removing the collateral consequences that come with having a record. Without access to legal assistance it can be logistically difficult for eligible people to get a juvenile record expunged.
YRJ will focus its work primarily on individuals in the three county metro area, and CJRC will focus on requests from youth in the remaining counties. Both organizations will do outreach events for the community, including hosting in person and virtual clinics across the state
Natalie Hollabaugh, Equal Justice Works Fellow Attorney sponsored by Intel and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, is a fellow at CJRC and worked alongside YRJ to establish the expansion program. Hollabaugh, who graduated from the Law School in 2021, highlighted the importance of this program in the community and illustrated that youth records can impact “schooling, housing, employment, and more. In addition, in Oregon especially, youth of color are disproportionately represented in the system.” Hollabaugh emphasized the importance of giving youths “someone to listen to their voice, make space for them to be heard, and provide supportive tools for self advocacy.”
“We are delighted to partner with YRJ,” said professor Aliza Kaplan, director of the CJRC. “Clinic students are working with Natalie on these cases and in doing so, learning about the issues of juvenile justice first hand. And, they are providing a very needed service to the individuals affected by past juvenile records.”
While a student at Lewis & Clark Law, Hollabaugh worked both as a Law Clerk for YRJ and as a clinic student at CJRC’s Youth Legal Clinic for incarcerated youth. Both organizations provided her with the opportunity to work directly with youth and provided her valuable insights into the legal problems they face. For students that are interested in the criminal justice system, Hollabaugh recommended talking to attorneys who practice criminal law, getting involved with criminal law clinics, and seeking out and listening to individuals who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
Hollabaugh was selected as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Intel and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLC upon her graduation in May 2021. The fellowship funds her work for the juvenile expungement efforts. A previous article about Hollabaugh’s award can be found here.
YRJ is Oregon’s leading nonprofit law firm dedicated exclusively to children and families.
The online application for expungement relief can be accessed here.