Washtenaw County prosecutor hoping to help residents through expungement program criticized by NAACP official

Only certain people eligible for expungement program

Washtenaw County prosecutor's expungement outreach draws criticism from local NAACP leader

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – With the passing of a state law allowing Michiganders to expunge their records, Washtenaw County prosecutor Eli Savit wants those in the region to know they can have a clean slate if needed.

“We’re trying to help as many people as possible. The law just went into effect on April 11,” said Savit.

“We’re out here passing out these goody bags, letting people know about the expungement laws and that we’re available to help for free.”

Read: Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to offer criminal record expungement checks Tuesday

But one person, Ypsilanti NAACP Vice President, Lee Tooson, says that’s not Savit’s place at all.

“The prosecutor should not be out here soliciting into this kind of fashion to get records expunged. That’s the defense attorney’s job,” said Tooson.

While the NAACP official doesn’t have a problem with the expungement process overall, he doesn’t agree with what the prosecutor is doing himself.

Read more: How to get your criminal record expunged under Michigan’s new ‘Clean Slate’ laws

“The prosecutor’s job is to work with the police to bring those who have committed crimes to justice. That’s not good for the community. That’s not making the community safe,” Tooson added.

Either way, Ypsilanti residents are excited with the idea.

“I think that everybody should come out and walk the streets and get to know the people. Second and third chances, I truly believe that’s a positive for us to have,” said Petra Romero Ronquillo, a Ypsilanti resident.

Another resident also shared a view on the issue.

“I think if you have the chance or opportunity to get a clean slate, I think everyone deserves that opportunity,” said Phillip Adams, another resident.

Keep in mind, only certain people are eligible for this expungement. Those who are interested in learning the details can email the prosecutor’s office directly at cieu@washtenaw.org.

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About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.