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Free Criminal Expungement Clinic

Beginning September 15th, Central Minnesota Legal Services and the Volunteer Lawyers Network will offer a free legal clinic for expungement of criminal records.

Expungement is the process of going to court to ask a judge to seal a court record.  People request an expungement when they have been denied a job, housing, or a professional license because of a criminal incident that shows up on a background check.

A new law goes into effect January 1, 2015 that may allow judges to seal records held by the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) and other executive branch agencies.  It may be helpful to speak with an attorney to determine a person’s eligibility for expungement under the new law.

What's New: Resources by County

Many counties have multiple resources that are available to those needing legal help. The resources available may vary from county to county.  In an effort to inform the public of the resources available, a set of brochures were created for twenty counties in Minnesota where CMLS also provides services.
Information is available for the following counties: Anoka, Benton, Big Stone, Chippewa, Chisago, Isanti, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Renville, Sherburne, Stearns, Swift, Todd, Wright, and Yellow Medicine.
To view the available resources, please click here:

Special thanks to first year law students at William Mitchell College of Law,and supervisor Diane Dube, for their assistance with this project.

2010 Direct Contributors

Central Minnesota Legal Services would like to express our thank you and appreciation to the following direct contributors of 2010:
Central Minnesota Community Foundation Women on Stage Event
Hanson & Efron
Leonard Street & Deinard Foundation
Minnesota Justice Foundation
Minnesota State Bar Association
Ninth District Bar Association
Eighteenth District Bar Association
Mr. Walter Burk
Ms. Martha Delaney
Mr. Joseph Dixon
Ms. Marie Failinger
Judge Charles Flinn, Jr.
Ms. Mary Grau
Ms. Erin Keyes
Ms. Jean Lastine
Mr. Brian Melendez
Ms. Amy Moberg in honor of Sarah Shella-Stevens
Ms. Pat O'Neill
Mr. William Sjoholm
Ms. Deb Thompson
Mr. Daniel Tyson

CMLS Staff and Volunteers Help Prevent Homelessness

According to an updated study released by the Wilder Foundation in March of 2010, the number of homeless people in Minnesota has risen sharply compared to an earlier Wilder Foundation Report in 2006.  Among other causes, the economic recession has created a new unemployed population and impacted their ability to find or pay for affordable housing.

Minneapolis Tornado Disaster

Do you have legal problems resulting from the tornado disaster that struck North Minneapolis?
We will take calls from low-income, elderly, and disabled persons with storm-related civil legal problems.  If you are a Hennepin County resident please call (612) 332-1441Anoka County residents should call (612) 332-8151.
For more information visit

Minneapolis Public Housing Opens List for Family Housing from June 22-26

Minneapolis Public Housing will allow people to apply for 2-4 bedroom family housing for the first time in years beginning on June 22, 2010 and ending on June 26, 2010.  Applications can be downloaded from the MPHA website at or by phone by calling 1-866-477-4045 for English speakers, 1-888-214-3771 for Somalis, 1-866-955-8229 for Hmong or 612-342-1415 for the deaf.
For the full Star Tribune story on this, go to

Salvation Army offers Life Camp for children of incarcerated individuals

LIFE Camp provides children (grades 2-6) of inmates currently or formerly detained in a Minnesota or North Dakota correctional facility the opportunity to create positive, life-long memories at no cost to their families. During the week-long camp, the kids have a chance to participate in activities like fishing, swimming, hiking and more. There is also a special focus on their specific emotional needs and life skills training.
For more information about this program, click here.

Star Tribune Highlights Anoka Law Library Pro Se Efforts

In a recent article, the Star Tribune highlighted the increase in use of law libraries by pro se litigants and highlighted the Anoka County Law Library.  Central Minnesota Legal Services works closely with the Anoka County Law Library and offers a pro se clinic at the law library once per month.
Congratulations to our friends Gene Myers and Merry Conway, the Anoka County Law Library staff, for being featured in this article and for being recognized for their hard work in helping pro se litigants in our court system.
A link to the full story is here:

Watch Judge Stephen Halsey from the Tenth Judicial District (Anoka) host a show on Orders for Protection in Minnesota

 Watch the District Court Show broadcast with Judge Stephen Halsey and guests in a discussion on the process for obtaining an Order for Protection in Minnesota Courts.  CMLS is mentioned in the discussion as an organization that assists people with Orders for Protection in Anoka County.

Revised Paternity Booklet is now available for free online download

 For those involved in paternity matters, the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition has created a community education booklet called "Rights and Responsibilities of Unmarried Parents".  If you are an organization that works with unmarried parents, you can order copies of the booklet to distribute by going to the Coalition's website.  
If you are an unmarried parent looking for information, you can download the booklet for free in both PDF and HTML format at