In November, more than 700 New Yorkers showed up at Soul Saving Church in Harlem hoping to clear their names.
The event was more secular than religious, but nonetheless successful: 409 summon warrants were eventually vacated that Saturday, ultimately reducing “unnecessary arrests” for low-level crimes, according to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office.
Most of those warrants had resulted from disorderly conduct, public consumption of alcohol, public urination, littering, unlawful marijuana possession and other summonses, such as for some subway offenses. Those low-level crimes, some dating nearly 20 years, were resolved without arrests, fines or other penalties, Vance’s office said.
The event’s success has prompted the district attorney’s office, in concert with other agencies, to hold a second, similar event this Saturday, this time at the Grand Street Settlement on the Lower East Side.
At the event, called “Clean Slate,” a presiding judge will issue what are called adjournments in contemplation of dismissal. Those compel the offender to avoid arrests for six months before the case can be dismissed and sealed, Vance’s office said.
Open summon warrants from the city’s five boroughs can be resolved Saturday, regardless of immigration status or where the offender lives, the statement said. Spanish, French and Mandarin interpreters will be on hand. Translation services for other languages will also be available. A photo ID is the only documentation necessary.
Vance urged those with open summons warrants to attend. “Clean Slate offers New Yorkers an opportunity to clear outstanding summons warrants for minor offenses from their records — and their lives,” he said at a Tuesday press conference announcing the event.
City Council Member Margaret Chin was similarly encouraging. “No one deserves to live in fear of imprisonment because of a mistake they made years, or even decades, ago,” she said.
Although warrants for felony or misdemeanor charges cannot be resolved at the event, attorneys from will be on hand to offer free legal advice to help resolve those cases, the statement said.
“Clean Slate” will held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Street Settlement on 80 Pitt St., near Rivington Street. For more information about the event and qualifying offenses, visit this web page or call 212-335-3310.