On Wednesday, September 30, students from Professor Michelle Hawthorne’s “Seal and Expunge” class participated in the Jacksonville Juvenile Diversion Expungement Day at the Duval County Courthouse. This first-time event, organized by Representative Mia Jones, provided individuals with non-violent misdemeanors — who had successfully completed a diversion program — a way to have their juvenile case expunged at no cost to the juvenile or his or her family.
Working under the supervision of their professor, the law students had the opportunity to assist real clients.
“I know what it feels like to have a need, to want something and not be able to get it. I know what it’s like to be them,” said current law student Serge Beaubrun of the clients he saw at the event.
“You’re 12 going on 30 because your lights are being cut off, and you’re hungry, and everyone’s looking at you like you’re a statistic. And every year that you don’t fall into a statistic they call it a success. And that’s the sad part. You’re not being ruled a success by what you accomplished; you’re ruled as a success because you lived to see another day. That’s messed up!
A lot of times they don’t commit their crimes because they want to, they do it to survive. These kids just want to know that there is someone out there who cares about what happens to them.”
You can read the full story in the Florida Times Union here: Law school students help erase black marks on criminal records; give youths chance at better life