Thousands get felonies wiped from record at Wayne County expungement fair

For Alvin Battiste, a past mistake has followed him around like a ghost. 

"It's been haunting me for a long time," he said. "So I'm just glad I had the opportunity to get it done."

It was a big day for getting it done at the expungement fair in Detroit. Several thousand people with past felony convictions in Wayne County attended the Fellowship Chapel in Detroit to have their records wiped clean. 

"When I was a teenager and all that stuff, now you know how stuff catch back up with you," said Donnell Spivey.

But thanks to a new bill that went into effect in 2021, Michigan residents that haven't been able to move on from previous criminal prosecution now have the chance to start again.

According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, around a million Michigan residents could be eligible for some of the same benefits that many in Detroit enjoyed Saturday.

"As important as it is to be accountable, it's just as important that after they have served their time that they get another opportunity in life," Nessel said. "You know, we don't want to just take these people and throw them away."

While the Clean Slate Act pertains to everyone in Michigan, July 23rd's event was specifically for residents of Wayne County. It was put on by the AG's office, the prosecutor's office, and was led by the Wayne County Sheriff. 

"If someone had a conviction and they paid their debt to society, we think they should be able to come back into society and enjoy the things that we all enjoy," said Sheriff Raphael Washington.

Some 50 lawyers and law students were at the event.