Robin’s two misdemeanors and three felonies for drug use and possession prevented her from finding affordable housing and restricted her professional life. “I had to live in a motorhome in the streets of San Francisco because of the difficulties with a criminal record,” she recalls.
Her last violation, which occurred in January 2000, still haunts her life – 15 years later. Clean and sober for many years since, Robin recalls being ready to leave her past behind: “I am eager to have my rights fully restored and once again be a fully participating member in society.”
Robin decided to seek legal help and she was referred to us through a social worker from The Salvation Army. Her case was taken on by Lolita Fernandes, one of our volunteer attorneys. With Lolita’s help, Robin petitioned to have her misdemeanors in San Mateo County dismissed. The initial petition, however, was denied. In the meanwhile, a referendum approved Proposition 47, which redefined many nonviolent offenses (such as drug possession) as misdemeanors, rather than felonies. Taking advantage of Prop 47, Lolita helped Robin file another petition, which asked San Mateo County to convert her felonies to misdemeanors and reduce her sentence.
Robin was more than thrilled when she was told her petition had been granted. She is now working with the Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto to try to get her charges completely dismissed. A reduced sentence, however, has already improved Robin’s life considerably: she was recently hired as a maintenance person for a mobile park. Now, Robin has a new goal: “I want to visit my sister in Ireland and I’d like to have my record cleared for purposes of applying for a passport.”