KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree is offering people convicted of a felony in Wyandotte County a second chance by wiping their criminal history clean.
Each Wednesday through August 14, Dupree's office will host expungement fairs from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Kansas City, Kansas, Community College Technical Education Center, 6565 State Ave.
Representatives from the Wyandotte County DA's office and Kansas Legal Services will join pro bono lawyers at the fairs to review cases and help applicants file paperwork.
"The biggest excuses that we hear oftentimes from folks who commit crimes are 'I didn't have a job, so I had to do what I had to do,'" Dupree said. "Then, we hear oftentimes one of the biggest issues and obstacles for giving an individual a job is their criminal record. This allows us to try and do our part as the District Attorney's office and not wait for an individual to mess up but to be proactive."
The program is similar to what Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson implemented earlier this year.
Convictions or diversions can be expunged three or five years after after the case is satisfied, depending on the severity of the crime. Murder, manslaughter, rape, other sex crimes, endangering a child, and other serious crimes can never be expunged.
Expungement isn't a new concept under Kansas law, but Dupree said most people do not take advantage of this process because it can be costly and confusing.
M'Sherie Johnson said it would have cost her thousands of dollars to hire an attorney. She was one of about 60 people who attended the first expungement day.
"I am am here to see if I can make my life better," Johnson said.
To simplify the process, the Wyandotte County District Attorney's office has posted all of the necessary documents on its website.
The office has also reduced the filing fee to $195 and financial aid is available for those who need help paying the fee.