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News2023-04-19T10:35:10-05:00

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Recent News

New Appeal on 420 Day for Illinoisans to Clear Old Cannabis Records

- April 15th, 2024

Too Few People Are Taking Advantage of Free, State-Funded Program

(CHICAGO)…. In advance of the 420 Cannabis holiday, leaders from New Leaf Illinois are urging people with old cannabis arrests and convictions to start the expungement process. New Leaf Illinois, the State of Illinois-funded cannabis expungement program, provides free legal services and information to Illinoisans who want to clear old cannabis convictions off their record. People can call (855) 963-9532 or visit newleafillinois.org to get started and connect with a legal aid professional.

“We think many people may not be going through the expungement process because they assume it takes too long, or they mistakenly think their records were automatically cleared,” said Beth Johnson, New Leaf Illinois program manager. “You don’t want to be in a position of applying for a job, or trying to rent an apartment and find out that a cannabis arrest is still on your record. That’s why it’s so important to check your eligibility for relief through New Leaf Illinois.”

While more than 80,000 Illinois residents may be eligible for expungement of their cannabis convictions, only 4,000 Illinoisans have registered through New Leaf Illinois.

To help encourage more Illinoisans to take advantage of the program, New Leaf is dispelling three common myths about the cannabis expungement process.

MYTHS vs. FACTS about Cannabis Expungement

MYTH: The cannabis expungement process takes years.

FACT: The process typically takes four to six months. Once you file a petition to clear (expunge) your cannabis record, it usually takes the court about 75-90 days to make a decision on your petition. If your petition is granted, it typically then takes about 90 days for your record to be cleared from court and law enforcement records.


MYTH: You have to go back to court to expunge your cannabis record.

FACT: Many counties are still handling expungement cases via a Zoom hearing.


MYTH: All cannabis records were automatically expunged once cannabis was legalized in Illinois.

FACT: While different “automatic” expungement processes have taken place, they have not covered all cannabis records, with many still requiring affirmative or additional steps. For example, while the Illinois State Police expunged 780,000 cannabis arrests from its database, those cases were not expunged from the court system and still require petitions to be filed with the court to complete the process.


Similarly, Governor Pritzker pardoned approximately 11,500 people with minor marijuana convictions and the Cook County State’s Attorneys office filed to vacate and expunge approximately 24,000 minor cannabis records. However, there are approximately more than 80,000 people who still have cannabis convictions eligible for expungement statewide. If people are confused whether or not their case was covered under any ‘automatic’ expungement processes, they should reach out to New Leaf Illinois.

New Leaf Illinois, funded by the State of Illinois, is a network of 16 nonprofit legal aid and community organizations around the state. The network is managed by the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.

For more information, please visit newleafillinois.org.

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Contact: Margarite Wypychowski

mwcommsconsulting@gmail.com or 773.458.8961


Some Rockford area veterans could get free legal help from the state

wifr.com - November 11th, 2023

Illinois service members with low to moderate incomes may be eligible for free legal assistance thanks to the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN).

Some veterans face almost 90% of the civil and legal problems without the proper assistance from attorneys. Now qualified veterans have a hotline they can call to talk with an attorney for free.

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Low-Income Veterans Can Access Free Legal Help through State-Funded Legal Aid Network 

- November 11th, 2023

IL-AFLAN Addresses Urgent Demand for Veterans Legal Services

(CHICAGO)……In advance of Veterans Day, low-income Illinois veterans can see if they qualify for free civil legal assistance through the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN).  IL-AFLAN is a statewide hotline and support network, funded by the state of Illinois, that provides help for civil legal problems such as family, housing and consumer issues and military specific-issues such as discharge upgrades and benefits appeals.

Veterans, current military members, National Guard, reservists and their dependents can call the IL-AFLAN hotline at 855-452-3526 and speak to an attorney for free.

“As we celebrate Veterans Day, it’s important to note that many of our veterans are struggling because of civil legal problems like eviction or trouble accessing their VA benefits,” said Trish McGill, Chair of the Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council.  “IL-AFLAN helps our veterans protect their legal rights, just like they served to protect our rights.”

The Legal Services Corporation estimates that low-income veterans receive either inadequate or no professional legal help for 88 percent of their civil legal problems.

To date, IL-AFLAN has helped more than 22,000 Illinois veterans.  IL-AFLAN attorneys have also secured more than $12 million in financial benefits for local veterans and their families, and more than $8 Million in Veterans Administration benefit appeals.

To be eligible for IL-AFLAN’s services, veterans and active duty military members need to have an income of less than 80 percent of the Chicago area median income. For a family of four, this translates into $63,200 annually.

For more information, visit ilaflan.org or call 855-452-3526.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Margarite Wypychowski, 773-458-8961

mwcommsconsulting@gmail.com


Kane County mediation program has helped over 1,500 households avoid eviction

Daily Herald - October 21st, 2023

In the two years since Illinois ended its pandemic-related eviction moratorium in October 2021, an eviction mediation program in Kane County has helped over 1,500 households avoid the traumatic effects of an eviction by the sheriff.

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