Advocates cheer Michigan's automatic expungement bill for low-level crimes

Thousands of people in Michigan who have been convicted in the past of low-level crimes will soon have them automatically expunged from their records under the state's new 'clean slate' law.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan legislation on Monday to clear misdemeanors and some felonies, like marijuana convictions, from criminal records. It does not apply to violent crimes or DWI's.

The crimes will be removed from public records and won't show up on background checks. However, Michigan State Police will keep a record that could be used in court or by prosecutors.

The law will open up doors for 80,000 people in Detroit alone to find jobs and housing.

Hakim Crampton, an organizer for JustLeadership USA in Michigan, has spent the past two years working to make this a reality and said this will help hundreds of thousands of people.

"This was earned by the fire of people like me on the ground level talking to communities about the clean slate bills then taking this data back to legislators," Crampton said. "People who have been impacted by a criminal history in the past deserve to be listened to and with a conversation about clean slate and expungement they deserve a second chance to remove a record so they can move forward in life I wanted to become that advocate."

Crampton spent 15 years in prison for a wrongful murder conviction in Wisconsin. Now the Jackson native is back in his home state to serve on the Indignant Defense Commission. He said the clean slate law will help across the board for people convicted in the past.

"If laws like this are not in place and people are not getting access to clearing my record that means our communities are at risk of people reoffending for failure to have access to housing employment education things people need to provide for themselves and for their families," he said.