Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady has thrown his support behind a new Expungement Help Desk, a joint project between the DA’s office, the Georgia Justice Project and “other Cobb County offices and departments.”
The State of Georgia passed the “Second Chance Law” (SB 288) which went into effect January 1.
The law expands Georgia’s long-standing program of allowing misdemeanor and felony arrests that did not result in convictions to be expunged (also known as “restricted”) from a person’s record.
According to a press release from the DA’s office,
The Expungement Desk is expected to be established later this year and housed in the Circuit Defender’s Office. Lawyers and volunteers trained by the nonprofit Georgia Justice Project will assist eligible individuals in getting their criminal records expunged as Georgia law allows. Cobb’s Expungement Desk will be the first of its kind in Georgia.
“This is justice in action,” DA Broady said. “Removing barriers that keep nonviolent people from being productive members of society benefits everyone.”
“Georgia Justice Project helps many Georgians each year with their criminal record, but we can’t do this work alone, and we do so with strong partnership support,” says Doug Ammar, Executive Director of Georgia Justice Project in the press release. “Since 4.3 million people have a Georgia criminal history, we need to find creative ways to collaborate with our local institutions to serve as many Georgians as possible. We appreciate District Attorney Broady for joining us in this effort.”
Cobb Solicitor General Barry E. Morgan said in support of the program, ““Prosecutors and court clerks cannot give legal advice, and many people are in limbo if they can’t afford to pay an attorney to navigate the additional, cumbersome process required for record restriction. This service will help fill a gaping hole.”
The Cobb Circuit Defender’s Office is also a partner on the Expungement Desk.
Led by Randy Harris, the defender’s office has the following mission, described on the Superior Court website:
- To maintain an indigent defense program as required by state law, and as specified by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council for those persons who are not able to afford legal representation in criminal cases in Cobb County.
- To determine eligibility of those individuals requesting a court appointed attorney with the use of an application which includes a financial statement of the defendant. Appointing attorneys to those individuals that qualify as set forth in the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council’s guidelines.
- Maintain a list of qualified attorneys to serve on the panel.
- Provide support services to the various courts and panel attorneys involved in appointed criminal cases.