TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Getting his marijuana record expunged has been a moment Caesar Romo has been waiting for for almost half a century. He was charged with a a marijuana related charge in 1976 and since then he’s had it on his record.
He’s a substitute teacher at a local middle school and said his record came up when he was updating his teaching certificate and getting fingerprinted.
“After all this time I thought it would be gone, but no, it was there. So I figured if I could expunge it, it wouldn’t be a bad thing,” Romo said.
Students of the University of Arizona’s law school Mia Burcham and Rebecca Caro Cohen are helping people like Romo expunge their records through their marijuana expungement clinics on campus.
“It’s a great feeling when someone walks out with a cleared record. It could be pretty life-changing,” Burcham said.
They said it doesn’t take much to get people’s records expunged. They said people don’t even need an I.D., but just need to know when they received the charge or arrest and where.
If someone needs help, they look up their disposition dates which they said should be available through public access court records.
However, for people like Romo, finding their records are a little harder.
Romo’s had his charge for so long that it wasn’t in a computer system.
“We really hope when people come in that we’ll be able to get them out the door with a completed petition and so we aren’t able to do that which is frustrating,” Caro Cohen said.
However, she said there are options like contacting the court directly and asking for a records search.
As for how long it takes to find out whether someone got their record expunged, Burcham and Caro Cohen said it typically takes about one to two months.
They’re already planning to have another clinic on March 25 at the law school. They said if someone gets denied, they work with the Arizona Marijuana Expungement Coalition to provide free legal help to people.
If someone isn’t able to make it to their clinic, they said they can visit this website to sign up for an expungement.
Romo said it’s students like Caro Cohen and Burcham who are helping him rebuild his life.
“I think it’s good. They’re putting their practice to work. Im a teacher. You’ve got to teach,” Romo said.
Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.