The Clean Slate Project is a program within the Civil Clinic with the primary goal of assisting Nebraskans seek a fresh start and improve employment opportunities by “cleaning” their criminal record of past convictions, as well as charges that did not result in a conviction.

While working with veteran service providers, the Clinic discovered that many who served our country often face challenges as a result of a criminal record stemming from incidents occurring shortly after discharge from the military—during that difficult transition period.  The Clinic found that that veteran’s criminal record often created insurmountable obstacles to full re-integration into society, including restrictions in obtaining employment, housing, benefits, and education.  In response, the Clinic dedicated a portion of its caseload to working with veterans in seeking to have their past convictions either set aside or pardoned, and certain records sealed.  The Clinic soon discovered this issue plagues not only veterans, but other past offenders who have turned their lives around, but remain hamstrung by their criminal past.

The Clinic now provides these services to veterans and non-veterans alike.  In addition to post-conviction mechanisms, the Project has also worked with clients and other legal service providers in sealing the criminal records of those deemed legally innocent, as well as survivors of human trafficking.   

Since its inception, students and faculty leading the Clean Slate Project have worked with courts and legislatures to improve the laws that permit a citizen to earn a second chance, have facilitated off-site legal service fairs to help veterans and the homeless seek this relief, and have provided direct representation to dozens of citizens who qualify.  

Due to circumstances related to the pandemic, the Civil Clinic is not presently accepting any new applications for assistance through the Clean Slate Project.  Individuals interested in pursuing clean slate relief are encouraged to contact Legal Aid of Nebraska for assistance.  

For additional information on eligibility and other available resources, please review this handout.