ReEntry Stories: Navigating The Expungement Process
Terry Green had several convictions, which led to his incarceration. Today, he is the CEO of Think Make Live Youth, a nonprofit that mentors inner city youth. Terry spoke with ReEntry Stories producer Mary Evans in Columbus on the grounds of the statehouse building where his expungement was recently granted.
Mary Evans Franklin County expunged your record. How does that feel?
Terry Green Well, first of all, I want to say it was a process. Certainly wasn't easy, you know, [first] being eligible. And two, one of the challenges is the high court fines that had to be waived. So I had to apply to get the fees waived, put in a motion for that. After that process, I then applied for my expungement. And then I hired an attorney from the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, which is based in Cincinnati. An attorney represented me free of charge through their program.
First, the challenge was that as soon as I applied the prosecutor made an objection to the motion and said, "You know, you shouldn't be expunged."
[The judge] didn't even know the person I was and just denied me off hand.
So from there, I got community support. I had about 15 letters. I mean, letters from our Franklin County auditor to letters from administration from ODRC, letters from Washington, D.C. to Rhode Island, from Boston, from the Ohio State University - so many letters that my response was so powerful that the prosecutor withdrew his objection. Once he withdrew his objection, the judge had no other choice but to grant me my expungement without a hearing.
So July 24th, 2020 is when I received the email from my attorney stating that my record was sealed and expunged. And when I mean sealed expunged, I mean, it's off the docket. I mean, this is felonies, you know, ten years old plus that I had on my record. And it wasn't just one felony, it was multiple felonies.
My story is that there is hope, you know, for those returning citizens that don't believe that they can get their record expunged, believe that it has to only be one or possibly two. I had multiple felonies because I had drug possession, drug trafficking. And I say that because that was my past. Those are things that I experienced. When I was young, my brain wasn't fully developed. When I was making those decisions, I was a homeless youth. I was trying to figure things out. I paid my dues to society by serving four and a half years in prison. I paid my dues by getting out of prison and mentoring and supporting other young people and giving back to my community. I paid my dues to society by changing - a re-shift in my life into becoming a rock star citizen from my own perseverance. And that's my story.
Mary Evans Now that Terry has his record expunged, he no longer has to say he has a felony on a job application. He also has access to other opportunities, like loans for housing.
ReEntry Stories is created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.