New Yorkers Participated in Daylong Event to Vacate Summons Warrants on the Lower East Side


Pictured (Clockwise): Executive Assistant District Attorney for Strategic Initiatives Nitin Savur, Attorney-in-Charge of Legal Aid’s Manhattan Office Irwin Shaw, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Attorney-in-Charge of Legal Aid’s Criminal Practice Tina Luongo; Judge Kathryn Paek in the Mobile Courtroom at Clean Slate, Participants Line Up for Chance to Vacate Summons Warrants. Photo: Legal Aid Society

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the New York Police Department, the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, and Grand Street Settlement hosted Manhattan’s second “Clean Slate” event this weekend. Approximately 460 New Yorkers from neighborhoods across the City came to Grand Street Settlement on the Lower East Side to resolve outstanding summons warrants for low-level offenses, without fear of arrest. Legal Aid attorneys screened and gave free legal advice to hundreds of additional individuals whose summonses were ineligible for warrant forgiveness under Clean Slate.

“Hundreds of New Yorkers have been given a fresh start at our Clean Slate events, and a new chance to engage more fully in their communities,” said District Attorney Vance. “Whether these individuals had summons warrants vacated or were simply provided free legal advice, many participants reported that an incredible weight had been lifted from their shoulders. I would like to thank Grand Street Settlement for hosting Clean Slate, as well as the dozens of staff members from my Office and our partner organizations, who volunteered their Saturday to help New Yorkers address these warrants. We look forward to hosting additional Clean Slate events with our partners as part of our ongoing effort to help clear the backlog of open summons warrants in New York City entirely.”

In all, 289 summons warrants were vacated at this event, more than half from New York County, and the oldest case that was resolved dated back to 1981. Additionally, hundreds more New Yorkers received free legal advice on how to resolve ineligible matters, including DMV, TLC, and immigration cases.

Following the success of 2015’s Clean Slate event in Harlem, District Attorney Vance partnered with the NYPD, the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, and Grand Street Settlement to host a second all-day Clean Slate event. Among the summons warrants cleared at this event were:

·       Public Consumption of Alcohol

·       Disorderly Conduct

·       Public Urination

·       Littering

·       Unlawful Possession of Marijuana

·       Others, including some subway offenses

In addition to the outstanding warrant, underlying summonses were also resolved at this event without fines or other penalties. The presiding judge issued Adjournments in Contemplation of Dismissal, or ACDs, which require the recipient to avoid new arrests for six months, before the dismissal and sealing of his or her case. Legal Aid attorneys were present to screen cases and offer free legal advice, including for those with open misdemeanor or felony warrants that could not be resolved at this event.

Additionally, Clean Slate offered a resource fair with job training, healthcare information, and referral services onsite. On-site interpreters assisted Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese speakers, and helped provide translation services for speakers of other languages.

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