Clean Slate America, LLC - Ph: (443) 912-3205
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If you are an ex-offender tired of the rejection by employers and lack of consideration by legislators, here is a forum for you to voice your experiences, dreams, and concerns.  The State Legislature has begun to recognize and respond to the plight of thousands of Marylanders longing for an opportunity be a contributor to the social fabric.
Ex-offenders are an untapped labor pool. 
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President Obama on Second Chances
The 44th President of the United States speaks on this American delimma.







 
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As Maryland's budget is stretched thin by the current economic situation a working workforce is essential to building the tax-base.       
Clean Slate America, LLC recognizes and acknowledges the hopes, dreams and potential of every individual.  Those with criminal backgrounds fortunate enough to find employment have proven to be dedicated employees, careful workers and leaders on the job. 
Regretably, too many are locked out of the workforce by fear, bias and apathy which is reflected in public policy prescribed by legislative edict. 
 
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Topic: Expungement Law/Pardon Reform
Posted 6/24/11
Anonymous
Harford County, MD
 
My life changed for the better more 13 years ago and it is still held against me. I am now a responsible adult with children to raise and bills to pay. Everytime I apply for a good paying job I am knocked down and kicked aside.
 
"When is the debt to society paid in full?" ~ Clean Slate America
 
 
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Topic: Pardon Reform
Posted 7/24/2012
Mr. Green
Rosedale, NY
 
I dont know how to start my story, I do know that lately my past the results of my using drugs,caused me to aquire a criminal background. I never thought about how my future would be affected. I have turned my life around obtained a GED and decided I would like to become a nurse. I'm currently in school and need 37 more credits. Recently my school requested a background check and the wreckage of my past has caused me to be in a state of panick. Because for the last eight years I have been working towards living life as a productive individual with a desire to work and care for people who require compassion and understanding. I am highly frustrated with myself. I pray that GOD didn't bring me this far for nothing. I am determined to be one of many who get the help they need so that all this work will be pay off and my loan debts off. I am seeking help with how to go about getting a satisfactory Pardon granted. We all make mistakes in life some of us learn harder than others. It doesnt mean that we should have to suffer for the rest of our lives especially if we have done some jail time. How much punishment should one endure.  My criminal charges are all misdemeanor charges all related to my activie drug addiction lifestyle.  Today I no longer live that way and am learning to understand the meaning of life as I work at being a role model for my children and anyone who struggles with drug addiction.  There is hope I refuse to let anyone tell me other. Anyway thats enough from me.
 
Equal Liberty denied by a criminal record.  Education and training cannot trump a criminal record ~Clean Slate America 
 
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Topic: Pardon Reform
Posted 5/2/2012
Mr. Crum
Middle River, MD

In December of 2006, I accepted a plea-bargain (on the advice of my lawyer) for a 2nd degree assault charge, with a jail sentence of 75 days.  I was co-defendant in the case with 3 of my friends... all of whom received similar sentences.  Looking back, I should not have accepted this plea deal and do you want to know why?  Because I did absolutely nothing.  Everyone (including the "victims") attested that I did not commit the charge for which I was being charged, however, the state was firm pressed on convicting all of us.  Being only 19 years old at the time, I was naive and impressionable and allowed my lawyer to make my decision for me.  On a side note, long story short, my friends got into a fight while I waited in the car (not my car, and I was not the "driver", I was sitting in the front passenger seat).  One of my friends had a police baton, and inflicted a good bit of damage, which was the reason I think the state was pressing so hard to convict all of us.  Anyway, so I accepted the 2nd degree charge (misdemeanor) as opposed to potentially facing felony 1st degree assault in front of the judge or jury.... all at the advice of my lawyer.  I accepted my punishment, served my time, successfully completed my probation (5 years supervised as well as 6 months anger management classes, 70 hours community service, and 6 months of substance abuse classes), not a single other charge on my record (aside from traffic violations here and there).  I am now working as an Engineer In Training for a consulting firm in Baltimore city.  I pay my taxes,  I am gainfully employed and I am a law abiding citizen.  My father is ex-military and being such, he very much enjoys frequenting the gun range.  I am not allowed to join him and share this family building activity because of my criminal past. Maryland law prohibits me from even renting a gun from the range for an hour to shoot at a paper target, because of my criminal past.  I cannot go hunting (which is another activity my father enjoys doing) because of my criminal past. Is this justice served?  Because of my unfortunate case of wrong place wrong time?  Some may have a differing point of view, but I dont think it is.  After the thousands I spent in lawyers fees, probation fees, room and board at the Harford County Detention Center (yes I had to pay the county to be in jail), community service fees (yes i had to pay to volunteer my time), as well as fees for anger management and substance abuse counciling.... add on top of that my time spent on probation, I have learned my lesson.  Not only learned my lesson, but have made something of myself.  I have pulled away from all those bad influences that landed me in this situation and surrounded myself with positive people.  I have no disdain for the people who convicted me.... I made a mistake and I paid for it. However, I firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance.... a viewpoint that I do not believe our current Governor (YES YOU OWE 'MALLEY) shares.  This kind of decision shouldnt come easy, I get that, but it shouldn't fall on the shoulders of one person either.  A single man can be biased, which the Governor hasnt been shy about admitting.  He is quoted in several printed news papers stating something to the tune of "having been a big city mayor, I have a unique perspective on crime", using that statement as an excuse to why he cannot be bothered with Pardons.  Anyway, that is my story, read it, dont read it, I dont really care.  I just hope that it reaches enough people for some of the higher powers to start paying attention and realize that our legal system is broken and imperfect.... and something needs to be done about that. maybe in this special session, they can debate pardon reform instead of tax hikes....
 
Thank you and well said,  Mr. Crum~" This kind of decision shouldn't come easy, I get that, but it shouldn't fall on the shoulders of one person..."
 
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Topic: Expungement Law
Posted 4/11/2012
Mr. Manuel
Pittsburgh, PA
 
My record is not extensive but it is holding me back from contributing to society. I went back school got degrees in the IT field, even certifications, still rejected. Getting tried, have to feed my family so what am I expected to do. I will do what I have to sometimes within the boundaries of the law and sometimes outside the boundries. All I want to do is be busy from 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.
 
"No amount of education or training can trump a Criminal Background" ~ Clean Slate America
 
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Topic: Expungement Law
Posted 4/3/2012
Mr. Justo
Baltimore, MD
 
I am a 22 yr old hispanic male, when I turned 18 I made the foolish mistake of admitting to the officer I had smoked week 3 hour prior I was stoped for a minor repair order.  I was released in a few hours my case was stet and I finished all that was requiered.  My mother sent me away to my dad's in another state.  The states attorney reopened my case and I had to come back and go to court.  I was not informed of the consequesnces to follow.  I pleaded guilty and paid the fine..... Three years later i am still paying for that mistake.  I have not been able to obtain any permanent jobs, have been humiliated and have gotten fustrated with the choices I made.  I was told I could have it exponged after 3 yrs only to find out that although it was a misdeminor, you are not eligible for expungment.  This is keeping so many young and and mature hard working people behind.... There has to be a better way of dealing with this issue.
 
So true, there has to be a better way. ~ Clean Slate America
 
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Topic: Collateral Consequences/Expungement Law/Pardon Reform/
Posted 1/22/2010
Ms. Sherrod
 
I am a thirty two year old proud mother of three young beautiful children. I was arrested in January 1997. The Baltimore City Police Department were setting abandon vehicles on the streets of Baltimore City as a set up to catch someone breaking into vehicles in West Baltimore. One of the vehicles set by the Baltimore City police Department was parked on West Saratoga St, not far from the Harbor City High school I was attending, were I was finishing up my last year. On January 8, 1997 I was leaving school going to work at the a Geriatric Nursing Home, a class mate and I were walking up Saratoga Street to catch public transportation. On the same side of Saratoga Street where we were walking we noticed an abandon vehicle with all the windows broken out, and the tires flatten. There was a noticeable black cell phone on the dashboard, and a leather jacket thrown over passenger seat inside of what to have been a believed to be an abandon vehicle. I reached inside of the window and picked up the cell phone from the dashboard without the intent of stealing. As a teenager I was young, curious, and naive. In my being innocent, I didn’t realize I have become apart of this sting operation set up by the Baltimore City Police Department. I was charged with theft less than $300.00 value, Rouge Vague bond, and Conspiracy. As another part of my punishment I was given parole and probation, and community service, which all were obeyed. I completed parole and probation, and washed police cars at the Northwest police district at 5271 Reisterstown Rd, as a completion of community services. I have not had any trouble with the law since, and deeply regrets having trouble with the law in the past. I currently have some accomplishments that I’m very proud of. I graduated High School, and received my Diploma, completed 90 hour in early childhood development, I also attended TESST College of Technology were I completed a Medical Assistant course with a GPA of 85.
 
I am reaching and crying out for help, and because of these charges I have on my record employers have not giving me a chance at employment. This has been painful, and also humiliating. As a single parent who loves my children, I have not been properly financially able to support my children as well as myself. I love my children and want nothing but the best for them.  I regret having these charges and now people are being misleading by the system regarding my character.  I love people and try to help anyone in need of assistance. I would never take from any one, or try to hurt anybody.  Please, as I cry while typing this letter, I hope someone or the governor’s office would consider me and help give me a second chance at life to secure a better future.
 
"We work so that your tears are not shed in vain." ~ Clean Slate America
                                                                                      
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Topic: Expungement Law
Posted 1/16/2009
T. Cole
         I am young father looking to set a positive example for my children. During this transition in life I'm finding that goal very difficult. I have been looking for employment for about 10 months since I was laid off of my last job. I have proven to be a hard and reliable worker. I have a high school diploma, college credits and a strong work history. You would think I would be able to obtain employment without a problem but thats not the case. I post my resume online and employers are often very impressed. During these past 10 months I have actually been hired to work for some of these employers until the fatality blow kicks in. The employer will say " I will let you know when you can start once I check your background." Then I never hear from them again. I think that this is a unfair practice. I always learned in school that you cant be tried for the same crime twice and cruel and unusual punishment is against the Constitution of the United States of America. But I guess certain rules apply to certain people. I feel as though I paid for my crimes so I shouldn't continue to be punished for mistakes I made in the past. If there were more jobs available and the willingness to give a person a second chance, there will be less crimes committed. At the end of the day people are only trying to make a buck. You shouldn't prejudge people for what they have done in the past if they are sincerely trying to make the right steps for the future. Now don't get me wrong some people are never going to change but there are a lot who are willing to change. And just because a person has never been caught doing a crime doesn't mean that they are not going to do what ever it is that you think a person who has been convicted of a crime will do. But one thing I can say is that I am going to keep trying until I am successful because thats what the church teaches me to do.
 
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Topic: Expungement Law/Pardon Reform
Posted 12/16/2008
W. C. Scott
Baltimore, MD
 
To Whom It May Concern,
            I am a 35-year-old ex-felon African-American male with a Bachelor’s Degree. I was convicted over thirteen years ago and I am still paying for it until this day. When I was convicted in 1994, I was told that the time I served and completed in the Maryland State Correctional Boot Camp Facility would be my way of paying my debt to society. Now as a mature adult who is able to make rational decisions and has changed his life due to learning from the past and his spiritual beliefs I am still being punished.
            At the age of 21, I made a very foolish and unwise decision in choosing my friends. The result has been an ongoing punishment that is very unfair. I understand that after being convicted of a crime it may take some time for society to believe one is rehabilitated. The unfair problem I face is that the time frame keeps growing from the period when I paid my debt. When I was released in 1994 the time employers would search into my criminal background was five years. When I reached the five-year period it was extended to seven years. Once I reached the seven-year time frame it was boosted to ten years. Now, that I have been out of trouble and conducting myself as a productive member of society for over thirteen years I am being told that the background check can legally go back until the time I became an adult.
            As a married Christian man with a blended family that consists of six children I find this unjust law very demeaning and discouraging. The Justice system is one that is supposed to be fair and allow all productive members of society an equal opportunity at employment. Over the past five years I have obtained my BSIT (Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology) and begun pursuing a MBA in Technology Management, which I am currently enrolled, and in the process of obtaining. Yet, employers are still stereotyping me because of a mistake I made and paid for over fourteen years ago.
            I was recently working for a company through a temporary agency for four months. The rest of the temporary employees along with myself were doing such a good job that I decided to contest that we be brought on permanently. Everyone in management agreed that our performance deserved the reward of becoming permanent. As a part of the hiring criteria, Human Resources required a background check. After nine days of permanent employment within the company my background results came back revealing the felony conviction of thirteen years in the past. As a result, the company terminated my employment immediately. Regardless of my, ongoing productiveness, recent educational accomplishments, work performance and the recommendations of my superiors I was dealt a devastating blow. It was enough to make a grown man cry. How is it that I am able to work for an organization as long as I am a temp, but when I apply to be eligible for the benefits that will provide health care and other rewards of a regular employee the rules change. Please tell me where the fairness and equal opportunity lies in that.
            My dilemma and concern is that I am an African American male, father, husband, and productive citizen of what I believe to be a free and fair society. As time goes on my belief in that fair society is starting to fade. Being convicted of that crime long ago taught me a very valuable lesson that I have not been fairly able to demonstrate. As a parent, I want to be able to teach my children that when you make a mistake you have to pay the consequences but once you have paid that price you can move on. However, I am not able to demonstrate that because the authorities in employment hiring processes are trying to hold me back. One of the reasons I am continuing my education is to be an example that education pays off. I am not able to do that when every time I apply or prove that I am qualified to perform a specific job I am turned down or terminated because of my past.
Someone please help. I was told that legally an employer is not supposed to research more than ten years into an employee’s past. All I am asking is for some answers on how does a man that wants be a provider, positive role model, and inspiration to his children and community get a fair chance. A response and explanation would be very much appreciated so that I can explain to my children and get an understanding for myself that even if they see this society that I speak so highly of hold me back after pursuing higher learning, that they should still pursue their education and career.
                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                    W. C. Scott
{A Man, Husband, Father, and Productive Citizen in search for some answers} 
 
 
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